How Could Any Self-Respecting Conservative In Kentucky Still Back McConnell?
McConnell is an ugly example of the American ruling elites who have perverted democracy for the advancement of their own careers. At this point, it almost doesn't matter if McConnell is a conservative or a liberal; all that matters is that he represents Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate, not the working families of Kentucky. His three opponents, Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin, in the primary, and Democrats Alison Lundergan Grimes and Ed Marksberry, all recognize his core vulnerability, which is making one of the Beltway's most influential and powerful players the most vulnerable Republican incumbent going into 2014. Watch Bevin's 30 second TV spot above. This is devastating for McConnell because it has the potential to make Kentucky voters think beyond the party identification model that our DC elites routinely use to pull the wool of their constituents' eyes.
Jim Ryun, one of Congress' most extreme right fanatics in living memory, was a radical Kansas Republican before he was defeated in a Senate run by a slightly (very slightly) more mainstream conservative. This week, Ryun penned an OpEd for USAToday about why McConnell-- and Beltway figures like him-- should not be reelected. Forget for a moment that Ryun is far outside the thought of anything resembling the mainstream in his specific policy agenda. And forget also that he's talking about Republicans in general and McConnell in particular. His arguments should also be heeded by out-of-touch Beltway Democratic powerbrokers like Steny Hoyer and Steve Israel, who are-- minus a few policy goals-- exactly the same kind of trash as McConnell.
As a former conservative member of Congress, I learned that legislative battles are won or lost long before the votes are cast in Congress. If we want to win legislative battles, we have to win electoral wars first. Many of those start in primaries against establishment Republicans who have either become complicit in the endless expansion of the federal government or feckless in stopping its aggressive champions.
Over the past year, my political action committee, The Madison Project has had the opportunity to help recruit a number of conservatives who understand the gravity of our public policy problems and are willing to fight for solutions that will fundamentally restore our constitutional republic. They are committed to promoting a new standard in Washington-- one in which principled leaders actually fight and win battles for conservatives. They will do whatever it takes to shrink the size of government-- including filibusters against harmful legislation in the Senate or voting against rules to consider bad legislation backed by GOP leadership in the House.
Next year we will have a number of opportunities to elect these new principled Republicans-- all in conservative-leaning red states. There are opportunities in Democrat-held seats in Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Alaska, and North Carolina. And yes, there are Republican seats in Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wyoming and others currently being wasted on Republicans of yesteryear.
We are proud to have already made some bold endorsements this year. We backed Coast Guard veteran Art Halvorson against Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster in Pennsylvania. This is a clear race between a status quo Republican committed to the policies of meddlesome federal control versus a principled outsider committed to shrinking the size of government.
And there's Louisville businessman Matt Bevin who's challenging the sitting Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell's quiet support for backroom deals and lack of leadership to fight the legislative battles needed to move our country in the right direction, has undercut conservatives in the Senate for years. We are proud to be the first national organization to support this historic conservative insurgency to empower the grassroots over the party establishment.
Some Washington insiders are questioning our motives and wondering why we are "moving the goal posts," while asking so much more from elected Republicans then we have in the past. These skeptics are failing to learn from the mistakes of the past.
We must learn from the successes and failures of the past generation of conservatives. They rose to the moment and fought the battles of their era. But we now know that, despite their best efforts, we failed to stop what is becoming an inescapable slide into socialism. We have almost $17 trillion in debt, the monstrosity that is Obamacare, 48 million peopleon food stamps, 72 million on Medicaid, and government subsidies and mandates governing every aspect of our economy and private lives. It's no longer enough to elect mild-mannered pale-pastel types who will merely slow the inexorable growth of government when they control Congress, following years of massive growth during Democrat control. We must elect fighters who are willing to use pressure points such as the debt ceiling or budget bills to force transformational change.
Despite his successes in slowing the growth of government, even President Reagan felt that more was needed to hold back the tide of a meddlesome federal government. It's for this reason President Reagan proposed America's Economic Bill of Rights in 1987, a set of sweeping constitutional amendments mandating a balanced budget and banning wage and price control. Reagan reportedly told a young Newt Gingrich, "Well, some things you're just going to have to do after I'm gone."
Unfortunately, instead of building on Reagan's successes, the GOP went backwards with the Bush Republicans, saddling us with Obama and the calamity that has ensued as a result of his presidency.
If we want more Republicans who won't blink during battle-- who will learn from past mistakes and do whatever it takes to change the current pathway to peril-- we must be willing to do battle with the Republican Party of the past during the upcoming primary season. It's time to change the way the game is played.
Last cycle, Ryun's PAC donated $96,000 to candidates and put another another $8,917 into independent expenditures. The great bulk of that money was wasted on right-wing extremists-- and losers-- Todd Akin (MO), Clark Durant (MI), Josh Mandel (OH), Joe Miller (AK), Richard Mourdock (IN), Mark Neumann (WI), Don Stenberg (NE), Carl Wimmer (UT), Joe Walsh (IL), Don Manzullo (IL), Scott Keadle (NC), Jack Hoogendyk (MI), Ron Gould (AZ), Evan Feinberg (PA) and, of course, Mitt Romney.
One followup throught-- Steve Israel's DCCC hasn't bothered to recruit a Democrat to run in PA-09... just in case Ryun and his band of extremists manage to defeat Shuster in the primary and replace him with someone so radical and with such anti-American ideas that a viable Democrat could actually win that deeply red seat. Steve Israel, like Shuster and McConnell, is a Beltway careerist. If the right can take on party elders like McConnell and Shuster, a vibrant left should be taking on hacks like Israel, Wasserman Schultz, Emanuel and Hoyer. But there's hardly any vibrant left at all, is there, just Wall Street zombies and profiteers like Cory Booker.