Monday, May 19, 2014

No good options in tomorrow's GOP Senate primary

We really wish there were better options among the Republicans challenging Mitch McConnell in the primary election for the U.S. Senate race.

Some had high hopes for Matt Bevin in his bid to unseat the incumbent who has angered so many conservatives through his capitulation to the three-headed monster of Obama/Reid/Pelosi, but Bevin's campaign never really gained the traction it needed to topple such a powerful sitting senator and tenacious politician.

McConnell lost favor with us eight or nine years ago for reasons of politics, not policy. We went from being ardent supporters of his in 2002 to refusing to support or vote for him in 2008. And nothing that's happened policy-wise in those intervening years has won us back to his side. His capitulation on the debt ceiling vote a few weeks ago encapsulated our opposition to McConnell in a nutshell. His vote against the increase on the Senate floor was inconsequential. The cloture vote was where the real battle was, and McConnell chose the side of the liberals instead of taking the conservative position.

We had really hoped for a viable alternative to emerge, and many had hoped Bevin would be that candidate, but it just wasn't meant to be. Red herrings like MIT, cockfighting and bailouts have taken away from a real and substantive discussion of McConnell's shortcomings as a conservative who is supposed to be leading the opposition to destructive liberal policies, not agreeing with them and pow-wowing with the enemy to pass them.

There are logical explanations for Bevin's MIT/resume and bailout situations, but we're not going to go into them at this time, and it would make no difference to his detractors anyway.

Bevin's gotten the most publicity of the four challengers to McConnell's throne, but there are three other candidates who are virtually unknown to the electorate. One, Shawna Sterling, wrote a rambling letter to the editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader responding to their endorsement of McConnell, claiming that someone had threatened to take her children should she file to run.

One of our collaborators has decided to sit tomorrow's primary out, saying she can't vote for any of the potential nominees and she has no use for McConnell. The rest of us plan to vote for Bevin, all the while knowing that he has no shot at upsetting McConnell.

What about the fall? While none of us could ever bring ourselves to vote for the lightweight candidate the Democrats are going to put forth, neither can we in good conscience support McConnell. In fact, we would laugh uproariously should the Republicans take back the Senate, as many expect, only to see McConnell lose his re-election bid and not get to be Senate president like he's dreaming about. Not that having another Republican besides McConnell as Senate president would be anything to write home about. Unfortunately for American, there are more McConnells and McCains in the GOP wing of the Senate than there are Cruzes and Lees and Rubios. We can't really see much difference between a leadership team of McConnell and Boehner than we do a Reid/Pelosi pairing, because we have no confidence in the leadership of the Republican Party to stand on conservative principles and in opposition to the Obama agenda.

McConnell famously said his goal was to make Obama a one-term president. He failed there, so his new goal should be to stymie Obama's harmful policies. He may talk a good game about Obamacare and the War on Coal, but when the rubber meets the road, what has he done? Capitulate, like he did on the debt ceiling vote and the votes for various of Obama's appointees.

We don't necessarily endorse Matt Bevin, but we cannot in good conscience as conservatives support Mitch McConnell. For all the credit he gets as being the godfather of the modern Republican Party in Kentucky, we haven't and will never forgive him for some of the things he's done to prominent GOP officeholders in Kentucky. Couple that with his abandonment of conservative policies at key moments when important issues are on the table, and we see no good reason to ever support him again.

Bevin may be a flawed candidate, but McConnell is a defective conservative and a broken senator. We liked the McConnell of 1984, or even 2002, much better than the McConnell of today.


At 12:36 PM, June 30, 2014, Anonymous James W. Killen said...

I'm building a coalition to put better candidates forward at the state level. I would love to talk to you about it if you're interested.


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