Paul Teller and the Death of the RSC

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

Earlier today, Paul Teller was fired from his position as executive director of the Republican Study Committee (RSC).  Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was installed as chairman of the RSC with encouragement from leadership accused Teller of collaborating with outside conservative groups to message against the tax and spend budget deal cut by Congressman Paul Ryan.  This move is yet another indication that we have nothing in common with GOP leadership and that we need to find a new home for conservatism on Capitol Hill.

For over a decade, Paul Teller has been the conscience of conservatism on the Hill.  He funneled in the light of truth from the conservative country class into the halls of Congress and the ruling class.  He helped build the RSC into an intellectual conservative powerhouse, which served as the gold standard for conservative research and activism within the House conference.

However, over the years, the progressive wing of the party engaged in a quiet coup to co-opt the RSC.  Once conservatives realized that the RSC was a key status symbol of conservatism, they expected all Republicans to become members.  Many of the non-conservative Republicans decided to join the RSC just to give themselves cover.  Eventually, the RSC grew to over 2/3ds of the entire GOP Conference.

Last year the chickens came home to roost during the election for a new RSC chairman.  The founders and former chairs of the group selected Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) to head the RSC in the 113th Congress.  Steve Scalise challenged him in a membership election.  With the support of leadership he won pretty handily.  We supported Graves, and warned at the time that Scalise would deliver the RSC to the hands of leadership.  But it was too late.  They had already destroyed it from within by overwhelming the membership with ruling class Republicans.

Scalise wanted to get rid of Teller immediately, but that would have been to incendiary.  So he got rid of most of his close staff.  He waited for an opportunity like this to pull the trigger.

The establishment wanted to kill the RSC.  Now that got their wish.  It’s time for the remaining conservatives to form a new group and let the establishment own the RSC – without any conservative street cred from good members.

It’s sad that this conflict has broken out into full-scale civil war, but this moment has been festering for years.  There can be no reconciliation between those who seek power for power’s sake and those who seek to serve in order to restore our Republic.

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My appearance on ABC News/Yahoo News’ Topline Program

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News, Videos

In case you missed it, here is my interview with Rick Klein of ABC News and Olivier Knox of Yahoo News.

From the fight over Obamacare to Ted Cruz to the 2014 primary season-we discuss it all and more.

A Washington Budget Deal: Republican Style

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy

Earlier today, Democrats utilized the nuclear option for the first time.  They pushed through the nomination of Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  Now, one of the biggest supporters of affordable housing mandates will guard the hen house at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Additionally, Democrats pushed through the nomination of two more liberal judges to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important court in the country.

Instead of responding by shutting down all bipartisan deals on outstanding legislation (which are still subject to a filibuster), Rep. Paul Ryan, without any protest from leadership, handed Democrats the biggest legislative victory in months.  Let’s examine the ramifications of the deal:

  • Under this agreement Congress would reinstate more than half the sequester for the next two years.  Budget caps would be set at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015; current law is $967 billion & $995 billion respectively.  It’s interesting how establishment Republicans argue that we can’t use the budget process to repeal Obamacare, but we evidently can use it to repeal the sequester.  Paul Ryan said tonight that he is forced to “deal with things the way they are.”  But that is not true.  The default position was that the sequester was the law of the land.  This will set a precedent to reverse that default, paving the road for future tax increases in order to offset the inevitable spending increase.
  • The sequester was one of the few battles in which Republicans successfully overcame liberal demagoguery.  Obama tried to make the sequester as painful as possible by gratuitously shutting down popular services.  It didn’t work.  They claimed the economy would tank.  The economy actually got stronger.  Why would they throw this away?
  • The most important outcome of this bill is the long-term effect on fighting Obamacare.  Rather than work out a one-year deal, Ryan essentially killed our leverage for the next two years.  So even if Obamacare becomes more catastrophic and the public rises up against it, we will not have any leverage to fight it in the budget process for next year.
  • The spending offsets are a joke.  Most of them are very intangible.  The only thing definitive is an increase in airfare taxes to fund the TSA.
  • Mitch McConnell is directly responsible for this.  He likes to say that he supports keeping the sequester, and indeed, he might vote against this deal, but he was the one who cued it up with his sabotage deal in October with Harry Reid.   Hence, McConnell will secure his optimal outcome – all budget confrontation will cease for two years, but he won’t have his fingerprints on the deal, enabling him to keep his legislative scorecard high enough to hoodwink conservatives.  Even as other leaders publicly supported the deal, McConnell said he would not be commenting on it tonight.  Remember, he is the GOP Senate Leader, and has obviously known about the deal for quite some time.
  • And why would Republican leaders want to jettison all budget confrontation for two years?  As we noted yesterday, the only plausible explanation is that they want a clear lane to drive through an amnesty bill without fights over Obamacare moving their prized issue to the back burner.

House conservatives should push for a clean CR until Democrats agree to isolate funding for Obamacare by passing all 12 appropriations bills separately….the way the budget process is supposed to work.

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2014: The Year of the Primaries

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

Next year Republican primary voters will have an unprecedented number of choices for whom to nominate to the United States Senate.  There have never been so many primary challenges against such high-level and long-serving members of the Senate.

There are now primary challenges in Kentucky, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kansas, and Wyoming.  The challengers vary in degrees of viability, competence, and skill.  Not all of them have been endorsed by conservative groups; not all of them necessarily will receive endorsements.  But all of these states are represented by entrenched ruling class Republicans of yesteryear.  They are also all states Mitt Romney carried by a comfortable margin.

As such, irrespective of the details of each individual challenge and challenger, conservatives should celebrate the growth in election competition in itself.  At the core of our free market belief is that choice and competition perfects the outcome of any product or service.  Politicians are no different.

Senators are elected for six-year terms, not lifetime appointments.  Every six years they need to stand before their constituents and vouch for their record while explaining why they would be the best choice for a new six-year term.  When there is no competition in primaries, they feel no need to improve or consider the concerns of their conservative constituents.  Primaries offer alternative candidates, and often, better choices for the future.  Again, this is something we should celebrate, especially in conservative states.

Some media figures and disgruntled Republicans are perplexed at the extent of the primary challenges this year.  Many of the apologists for the banal incumbents point to legislative scorecards to express confusion over why their candidates are insufficiently conservative.  After all, they contend, these senators don’t seem to fit the mold of the typical beleaguered moderate-liberal incumbent like Arlen Specter.

Here are some points we must all consider when examining the upcoming primaries, especially in the context of the current crop of GOP senators:

  • The Hatch Effect: As Erick Erickson noted a few months ago, Orrin Hatch started a new trend among the ruling class members.  Recognizing the mistake of moderates like Bob Bennett and Dick Lugar, Hatch ran all the way to the right when he began to sense a credible primary threat.  Last year, he voted 100% with Mike Lee.  This year he has voted for amnesty, ENDA, funding Obamacare, debt ceiling increases, the Biden-McConnell tax increases, and many of Obama’s liberal judges and executive appointees.

The sad reality is that it worked for him, and now Senators McConnell, Cornyn, and Roberts are trying to replicate the Hatch Effect.  They figured out how to pick the lock.  Move all the way to the right as soon as a primary challenge emerges and completely muddle the need for an alternative.  Then they can point to a scorecard showing them voting the right way that year.

  • Rebuilding the Majority with a Rotten Foundation: Piggybacking off the last point, do we really want to trust the primary-year foxhole conversions?  Remember these are the same old bulls who nearly destroyed the party during the Bush years until the Tea Party saved the GOP.  They were headed to a third wave election of defeat before conservatives united the party behind a message of free markets and anti-bailouts, eschewing years’ worth of bad messaging of the party by some of these same members.  Do we want to rebuild the majority with these same members?
  • The Paradox of Congressional Disapproval: All political factions agree that Congress is corrupt, Washington is broken, and members have a lower approval rating than used car salesmen.  Yet it is only the Tea Party that is actually willing to do something about it.  It’s amazing how everyone agrees that Congress is hated, but whenever we promote a challenge to a sitting member, the media looks at us like we are from Mars.  They make fun out of our citizen legislator style candidates.  Well, how are we going to change Washington if we continue to rubber-stamp another 6 years for every incumbent if they are not made to fear competition?
  • A Voice, not Just a Pandering Vote: Even the foxhole conversion into voting conservative is incomplete and inadequate.  We need elected Republicans who will give voice to conservatives and fight back against the left, not those who will surrender the war but make sure to cast a conservative vote in order to protect themselves back home.

Yes, John Cornyn voted against the amnesty bill on the final vote.  But he voted for it in committee, and after conservatives almost killed it on the floor, he revived it with his phony amendment, which gave rise to the contours of the final deal.  Obviously, given that he was personally on the fence with this issue, he certainly did not whip up opposition to the bill.  Ditto for Mitch McConnell.

Moreover, no scorecard could ever encapsulate the degree of damage they did when they gave Harry Reid 60 votes to fund Obamacare, and publicly stood with Democrats against conservatives to sabotage the only legitimate fight against Obamacare.

Similarly, it is nice to see Pat Roberts support the defund effort once he got a primary challenger (after opposing it a few weeks prior during a townhall event).  It is also nice to see him call for Kathleen Sebelius to resign.  However, he was the individual who foisted her upon the country when he gave the home-state endorsement in 2009.  We need articulate voices who will fight battles, not those who will ensure we lose the battles, albeit without their personal fingerprints on the concession during primary elections.

It’s important to remember that some of these incumbents are not liberals, or even moderates.  But they are not conservatives either.  They are ruling class of special interest career politicians who pursue personal power as an ends to itself.  When it suits their need to cast some conservative votes, they will do so.  But when they need to placate the special interests, they will jump in head first.  They certainly will never put their careers on the line to fight for us.

When Republicans win back all branches of government and revert to their natural tendencies, just remember that you had a number of choices when it really mattered.

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McConnell Hosts Fundraiser for North Carolina’s Charlie Crist at Home of Fannie Mae Lobbyist

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

Senator Mitch McConnell has been awfully quiet lately.  After making it clear in October that he would never again fight Obamacare in the budget or a debt ceiling increase, he has fallen off the face of the earth.  Harry Reid pulled the nuclear option in the Senate, yet McConnell has not threatened to hold up the deals on the farm bill or new budget conference.  In fact, he hasn’t commented on them at all.  He hasn’t even commented on Obama’s Iran capitulation, an issue in which he presumably shares our views.

So what is Mitch McConnell doing as the most powerful Republican in Washington?

He’s fundraising for Thom Tillis, the Charlie Crist of North Carolina, at the house of a Fannie Mae lobbyist.

“A Washington, D.C., fundraiser scheduled for this week for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican candidate for Senate, will feature a few big GOP names, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., are also slated to attend, according to an updated invitation sent out Monday and obtained by the Washington Examiner.

Thursday’s breakfast event will be at the home of Geoffrey Gray, a lobbyist who has represented Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among additional interests in banking, financial and other sectors. The event is $500 to $1,000 per head and up to $2,500 for political action committees.

McConnell’s political action committee has donated to Tillis’ campaign, but the appearance at the fundraiser of the Senate’s top Republican is an important, visible stamp of approval for Tillis’ candidacy. McConnell’s colleague, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed another Republican in the North Carolina Senate primary, physician Greg Brannon. Still, Tillis, the favored candidate of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, holds a considerable fundraising advantage.”

McConnell has a habit of endorsing the most liberal candidate in a primary, as he did with Trey Grayson, Charlie Crist, and Arlen Specter.  Thom Tillis, the current Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly, fits right in with those names:

  • He opposed the state’s marriage amendment, which won with 61% of the vote last year.
  • As Speaker, he is blocking conservative efforts to halt Common Core in the state.
  • He voted for green energy mandates in 2007.  Then when the bank he owns, Aquesta Bank, became one of the few institutions engaging in solar energy loans, Tillis blocked conservatives from repealing the mandate (after Republicans took over the general assembly).
  • He is a pay-for-play venture socialist at its worst.  In fact, he could put the people on K Street to shame without ever having served in Washington. He supported a Democrat to serve on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors because he gave a lot of money to Tillis’s campaign.  He has also pushed expansion of toll roads for his special interests and has recruited primary challengers against conservative representatives who oppose them.
  • He dramatically watered-down the Republican Voter ID law.

Not surprisingly, his views on illegal immigration will be colored by special interests.

Thom Tillis will fit in very well with Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove in Washington.  There is no reason why Senator Kay Hagan should win reelection next year, but conservatives are not exactly excited about replacing her with someone like this.

Mitch McConnell is the defacto head of the NRSC, and there’s no reason they should be supporting Tillis so early in the campaign.  Aside for being the most liberal Republican in the race, there is no evidence that he would be the strongest candidate.  In fact, his laundry list of sleazy pay-for-play special interest connections will give the Democrats more than enough fodder to distract from Obamacare and keep the seat.

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Emerging Ryan-Murray Deal: More Taxes to Fund Obamacare and Increased Spending

Monday, December 9th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Issues, Obamacare

James Madison was very adamant that the power of the purse be preserved in the body of government that is closest to the people – the House of Representatives – as a way to redress all grievances against harmful government interventions.  We have a law that is woefully unpopular and universally regarded as unworkable, yet Republicans have made it abundantly clear to the Democrats that Obamacare will never be part of the budget negotiations ever again.  We have a president who is illegally usurping the power of Congress on an array of issues, yet Republicans have preemptively abdicated their authority to reassert their power through the budget process.

Consequently, Democrats are on the cusp of getting everything they want in the upcoming budget bill.  When Democrats are fully committed to growing government and Republicans are publicly committed to surrendering their leverage on budget bills, we are left with a one-sided deal.  It’s that simple.

After taking Obamacare off the table, despite the fact that it is demonstrably more of a political liability for Democrats than it was in October, Democrats moved in for the kill on the sequester.  They figured that Republicans were so scared of a budget showdown, they’d give them anything they desire.  Evidently, that even included items that Republicans already have in the big, such as the sequester.  The sequester is already the law of the land, yet Paul Ryan has agreed to abolish the sequester for 2014 and 2015.

At issue is the scheduled sequester cuts for 2014 that will trim back discretionary budget authority from $1.027 trillion to $967 billion.  The emerging deal will likely reinstate most of that spending for the next two years.  Ryan and Murray plan to offset the spending with tax increases on airline tickets.  Air travel is already very expensive because of the cost of fuel (thanks to our anti-energy policies).

In addition to the expensive cost of air travel, passengers are already hit with taxes and fees that jack up the cost of air travel by 30% of the base cost.  Do we really need more airfare taxes in order to fund Obamacare and undo the only spending cuts we’ve ever secured?

The undercurrent of this agreement is the emergence of a dynamic that Republicans want to end all of the budget battles once and for all.  That would explain their eagerness for a two-year repeal of the sequester.  It also coincides with their decision to push off the debt ceiling indefinitely.  Even though the debt ceiling law will be reinstated in February, the Treasury will be able to use “extraordinary measures” to delay the deadline until the summer.

So why is there such a rush to eliminate all of our points of leverage?

Who know?  But The Hill has already posited that the end of budget fights will be used to pave the road for an amnesty bill next year.  This theory is even more plausible given that Paul Ryan is the lead negotiator on the budget, and in light of recent reports that Boehner will push amnesty (thanks to his new staffer) after the filing deadline for primaries passes.

Even if conservatives don’t have the stomach for a full defund fight, the worst thing they can do is enable leadership to permanently obviate their future leverage.  Rather than passing a permanent new appropriations bill for the rest of the year, conservatives should demand another clean short-term CR with one condition attached.  They should write instructions forcing both houses of Congress to pass each of the 12 appropriations bills separately for the next fiscal year (FY 2015).  As we’ve noted before, this will allow us to isolate funding for Obamacare in one or two bills without the rest of government funding getting encumbered in the imbroglio.  At least we will have the opportunity to fight Obamacare next September without the specter of a full government shutdown.

Ultimately, the future of the Republican Party will boil down to the following question: Is their desire to pass amnesty stronger than their will to fight Obamacare?

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GOP Must Shut Down Senate

Monday, December 9th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

It takes only an inch of snow to shut down Washington, but even the nuclear option cannot get Republicans to shut down the Senate.

Several weeks after Harry Reid changed hundreds of years’ of Senate rules by abolishing the filibuster for all judicial and executive appointments, Republicans have all but forgotten about it.  They could have threatened to block every piece of legislation until the rules are restored, but instead they are fully cooperating with a budget bill to fund Obamacare and increase spending, along with a farm bill to grow government intervention in the agriculture sector.  They might even help Democrats pass a bill that can be used as a vehicle for more gun restrictions.

Needless to say, without any fear of reprisal, Democrats plan to jam through a number of Obama nominees before the end of the year on a party-line vote.

Democrats will attempt to pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important court in the country, with Obama’s radical nominees.  On Monday evening, the Senate will vote on Patricia Millett.  They might try to push through two other D.C. Circuit nominees, Robert Wilkins and Cornelia Pillard, later in the week.  Republicans had been blocking all D.C Circuit nominees because the court is currently split between Republican and Democrat appointees, and unlike other courts, this one actually has a very light caseload burden.  The addition of three more liberals would be devastating for conservatives because this court has original jurisdiction over many of the constitutional issues arising from political fights in Washington – both in Congress and with Executive overreach.

The Senate will likely vote on the nomination of Congressman Melvin Watt (D-NC) to be the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  Conservatives strongly oppose Watt because during his career serving on the House Financial Services Committee, he has been a consistent advocate for expanding the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the private housing market.  He worked hand-in-glove with Barney Frank to push the affordable housing agenda, which forced banks to underwrite risky loans to those who could not pay them back.  He helped bring down the housing market, and by extension, the entire economy.

It would be a disaster for Watt to serve as the top regulator of those failed agencies as director of FHFA.  It’s akin to appointing the arsonist as the fire chief.

So what should Republicans do?

They could start by suspending all negotiations on end-of-year legislation, such as the budget deal, farm bill, and extension of Medicare doc fix.  But more importantly, as we’ve noted before, in order for the Senate to function members must agree to unanimous consent on a variety of procedures.  Without a unanimous consent agreement, no standing committee can conduct business after two hours from the time the Senate convenes.  With only two weeks left of this session, Republicans can completely shut down the Senate by denying these UC agreements.

Even after the nuclear option, 45 Senators have the ability to wreak havoc on the majority.  Just one senator has the ability to slow down the Senate.  It’s all up to Mitch McConnell.  He can end the year with a bang or a bust.

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Madison Project PAC Endorses Barry Loudermilk in Georgia’s 11th Congressional District

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, Press

For Immediate Release:

December 5, 2013

Contact: Mary Vought

press@madisonproject.com

 

Madison Project PAC Endorses
Barry Loudermilk in Georgia’s 11th Congressional District

Fort Worth, TX The Madison Project PAC, the first conservative PAC to endorse Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Matt Bevin (R-KY), announced today that it is supporting state Senator Barry Loudermilk for Congress in Georgia’s 11th district.

“Barry Loudermilk is a true gem for conservatives in this election cycle,” said Drew Ryun of The Madison Project.  “As an expert on the history of our Founders and Founding documents, Senator Loudermilk understands that the only path to fundamentally restoring our Constitutional republic is over the heads of leadership in both parties.  In the Georgia Legislature, he has stood firm on his principles even when facing opposition from leaders in his own party.  In particular, he has been a stalwart on gun rights, fighting illegal immigration, defending the unborn, protecting individual privacy, and opposing all tax increases.  This is exactly the type of leadership we need in Washington.”

“Barry is one of those rare Republicans who has been a leader both on issues of family and faith while at the same time defending individual liberty and personal privacy,” said Daniel Horowitz of The Madison Project.  “His personal life and legislative career are the true embodiment of his campaign motto: ‘faith, family and freedom.’ Loudermilk is the only candidate in the GA 11th Congressional district race who will consistently uphold all conservative values even in the face of adversity from establishment Republicans.”

The full endorsement can be viewed here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/

# # #

 

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Barry Loudermilk for Congress in Georgia’s 11th District

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

If conservatives ever hope to build an enduring majority within the House Republican Conference, they must capitalize on opportunities to win open seats in addition to knocking off fair-weather moderate incumbents.  Georgia’s open Senate seat has created a number of vacancies in the House delegation, one of which is Georgia’s 11th district.  With Rep. Phil Gingery (R-GA) retiring to run for the U.S. Senate, there’s no reason this “red” district should elect anyone other than a conservative all-star and make it a conservative stronghold for years to come.  There is no better man to do this than state Senator Barry Loudermilk.

We are in the midst of a battle for the heart of the GOP party.  There are many factions that want to jettison traditional values from the party’s platform.  There are other factions who want to support endless amnesty and open borders.  Some want to turn our party into the Libertarian Party.  And there are others who are pro-life statists, politicians who give lip service to social issues but support the growth of government.

Barry Loudermilk is one of those candidates who is inviolable on every policy issue.  He feels just as comfortable advocating for abolishing the Department of Education and reforming the Federal Reserve as a he does speaking about traditional values and the civil society.  Hence, Barry does not believe in ‘pick-and-choose’ conservatism.

More importantly, he understands the political dynamic in Washington and has committed to completely fighting against the GOP establishment and seeking new leadership within the party.  While we often look for political newcomers to run for Congress, Loudermilk’s experience in the Georgia state House and Senate are actually advantages – he has a record of standing up to the big government bosses within the Republican Party.

After serving in the Air Force for eight years, Loudermilk developed a burning passion for his country and the Constitution.  In 2004, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and served until becoming a state Senator in 2011.  Fighting officious government starts at the local level, and in the state House Loudermilk led the way on privacy issues, such as red light cameras.  He fought the corporatists who stood to benefit from the cameras and passed a law drastically curtailing their use (he tried to eliminate them completely).  He also fought “nanny state” laws such as smoking bans and draconian driving laws.  In 2009, he helped lead the fight against a bipartisan sales tax increase, under the threat of losing his position on the House Transportation Committee.

In the state senate, Loudermilk fought for cutting benefits for illegal immigrants, expanding right to carry laws, and clamping down on abortion clinics.  He also worked against a bipartisan bill to establish an electronic database of all prescription drugs dispensed in the state.  Throughout his time in Atlanta, Loudermilk has voted against numerous tax increases and efforts to grow the size of state government.  He was one of only three Republicans to oppose the governor’s hospital bed tax scheme, and faced reprisal from party officials for leading the opposition.

While serving in the state Legislature, Loudermilk has remained focused on his own small business, an information systems technology company.  Loudermilk is a true citizen legislator.

What is unique about Barry is his depth of knowledge about our founders, founding documents, and founding history.  He is particularly scholarly and articulate in educating the public about the role of Judeo-Christian values and the importance of the civil society in our founding documents and how they are indispensable to preserving liberty today.  His passion for these values is best encapsulated in his inspirational book, “And Then They Prayed.”

Speaking with many conservative activists across the country, there is always a fear that newly-elected conservatives will become part of the establishment after a year or two in Washington.  With Loudermilk’s solid foundation and record, we are quite certain he will help change Washington instead of Washington changing him..  That is why we are honored to make Barry Loudermilk our first endorsement in an open congressional seat for 2014.

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Chamber of [Government-run] Commerce Circles Wagons Around McConnell

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

It’s not surprising that the Chamber of Commerce is running ads on behalf of Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.  After all, the Chamber of Commerce is Mitch McConnell – in the sense that they both share an ideology of power instead of principle.

As we’ve explained before, the Chamber of Commerce is not conservative, pro-free-market, or even necessarily pro-growth.  They support the special interests of big business.  Period.  When those interests intersect or overlap with free-market, pro-growth policies, such as advocacy for tax cuts and lower regulations, they will side with conservatives.  But when those interests require the stewardship of big government intervention, they will side with the forces of statism.  Hence, they are not paragons of free-market commerce; they support government-run commerce, albeit with tendentious policies towards their interests.

Their special interests support illegal immigration, corporate welfare, increased gas taxes, and an internet sales tax.  It’s not surprising that Chamber money pours into K Street coffers to lobby for those goals.

That is essentially the same description of Mitch McConnell’s tenure in the Senate.  Birds of a feather flock together.  It’s no surprise that many of McConnell’s former staffers work or lobby for the Chamber.

The bizarre thing about their ad touting McConnell as a warrior for coal is that they overlook his biggest failure in halting the war on coal.  Earlier this year, Republicans had the opportunity to force the EPA to stop administrative cap and trade on the coal industry by holding up the nomination of Gina McCarthy as director of the EPA.  McConnell cut the deal to allow her through by delivering 60 votes to Harry Reid.

Now, of course McConnell was not one of those votes, but he made sure not to whip against her.  Had he been a man of honor and respected among his conference, he could have appealed to the moderate within the conference to hold up the nomination until Obama agreed to halt the war on coal.  He could have had private conversations with Senators Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander explaining the painful job losses in Kentucky as a result of the War on Coal.  But, alas, those conversations never took place.  McConnell had no desire to fight the war on coal using the only leverage point Republicans held.  He just wanted to personally vote against McCarthy and give speeches.

It is clear that the war on coal will never abate until we have new leadership within the party.  And the coal industry will never grow again unless it places it’s faith into fighters for free markets, not the Chamber of Commerce.

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