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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