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Conservatives &First things . . . Richard Falknor on 24 Mar 2010 10:30 pm

Shaming a Faltering Senate GOP Leadership into Action

UPDATE! Senate votes on, and defeats Vitter amendment “to repeal the government takeover of health care.”

Tonight our colleague in the conservative blogosphere, Erick Erickson at RedState, reveals in his “Senate GOP Trying To Scuttle ‘Repeal It’ Amendment” – –

“Senate sources confirm to me this evening that Senator Mitch McConnell and his leadership team are trying to scuttle Republican efforts to force a vote on repeal of the entire health care legislation during the reconciliation process.  I’m told reliably that moderate Republican senators who voted against Obamacare in December do not want to vote against it again because it would just be ‘symbolic’.  McConnell agrees and is not inclined to push Republicans to go along with any effort to force a vote on repeal during reconciliation, despite David Vitter offering up an amendment to do just that and separate stand alone legislation being offered by Senator Jim DeMint with a host of Republican co-sponsors.”

Yesterday Erickson declared in “McConnell: Conservative Dissatisfaction is ‘Not Relevant'”- –

“This afternoon Senator John Cornyn told the Huffington Post that he was not in favor of repeal, just nibbling at the edges of Obamacare. He later released a clarifying statement saying he did want to repeal the bill and replace it with something bipartisan.’

Yeah, just like the Democrats wanted.

Then Sen. Mitch McConnell went on John King USA and told John King that conservative dissatisfaction with the Republican leadership was ‘not relevant’ because in November they’d vote for the GOP.

KING: [A]mong those who describe themselves as conservatives, only 40 percent approve of the job you’re doing and 58 percent of conservatives, the base of your party, Senator McConnell, disapprove of how the Republican leaders in Congress are doing their job. Why is that?

MCCONNELL: Well you know it’s an interesting question to ask. But it’s not relevant to what will happen in November.” (Highlighting in original.)

Nor have other senators in GOP leadership roles, Jon Kyl and Lamar Alexander, been the conservative warriors we all hope for.

From one past (December 5) Forum post – –

  • Here is Michael Hammond’s up-to-the-minute situation report (do read it all): “We don’t want Mitch McConnell to try to make himself look good by pretending to be a ‘non-obstructionist.’  We want Senate Republicans to move heaven and earth to protect Americans from Harry Reid’s scheme of bribery, fraud and dirty politics. ACTION:  Contact your two U.S. Senators.  Tell them to object to any further Unanimous Consent agreements to further the ObamaCare freight train.” (Hammond is a former general counsel to the Senate Republican Steering Committee.)
  • “RedState’s hogan here cites Senate Republican Whip John Kyl’s “strategy”— “’actually, I think we can be fairly upfront about it. Our strategy is not actually to delay and not take votes.’ He added, ‘our strategy is to have a lot of good amendments and highlight the problems in the bill,’ and ‘it is not our strategy to somehow slow things down.’”

And from another (July 27) Forum post – –

Last Friday, RedState’s Erick Erickson declared “Lamar Alexander Plays Lapdog to Barbara Boxer and Endorses Government Mandated, Tax-Payer Funded Abortion.”  Read Erickson’s take here on this member of the Senate Republican leadership he terms “a serial capitulator.”

Last July 26, Senate GOP whip Kyl commented to Politico – –

“Asked about recent comments Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and James Inhofe (OK) have made, suggesting that GOP would benefit politically if President Obama’s health care agenda was stalled, Republican Whip Jon Kyl said, ‘I don’t agree with that kind of language.’

‘Because the language has a political implication,’ Kyl added, ‘I think that’s unfortunate. Both sides talk about the politics of this. I don’t think we should be focused on that.'”

We believe, however, that RedState editor Erickson, may be too limited in his proposed solution:

” . . . [C]onservative dissatisfaction is very relevant in the primaries.We can send an army of conservatives to the Senate who will push back against John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell. We can send solid conservatives who will side with people like Jim DeMint.”

We Have to Fight Back Now — With the Senate Leadership We Have

We don’t have time to wait until early 2011 for a possible change in the current Senate GOP leadership. And if there is an unexpectedly large gain in Republicans elected to the US Senate next November, Mr. McConnell will plausibly claim credit for it at the beginning of the next Congress to keep his leadership position.

What we must aim at is invigorating this GOP Senate leadership as best we can now.

Senate GOP Leadership: Think Grant, not McClellan

Paralleling what we said last week about House members ‘on-the-fence’ about Obamacare, these faltering GOP leadership senators also live in their states and have to face their local community leaders and neighbors in gatherings ranging from business clubs to golf courses to parish halls.

Many of us know conservative activists, or have friends and relatives in Kentucky, Arizona, and Tennessee.

It is the GOP leadership senators’ own circles, in their own states, who can best penetrate their institutional bubble – – and shame them into pulling their Republican caucus together and keeping them pushing back against even more Obama initiatives.

The risks of not doing so include raising grass-roots frustration to such a level that they seek the destructive path of a third party.

And the voices to reach those senators’ circles are local grass-roots conservatives and local Tea Parties.
















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