In Kentucky, we expect our representatives to be people of conviction.
But in Washington, it’s another story. It is not uncommon to find politicians in favor of a bill before they were against it, or for politicians to vote one way in public and another when they think no one is looking. In Washington DC, it is perfectly normal — if not encouraged — for congressional members to master the art of doublespeak.
And no one has mastered this art better than Kentucky’s 30-year senator, Mitch McConnell. In the off years, Sen. McConnell voted consistently for amnesty, but on the eve of a tough reelection campaign, Senator McConnell was mysteriously absent from the immigration debate, turning down interviews, running away from his record. When it’s convenient, Senator McConnell votes to raise the debt ceiling and is the king of wasteful pork-barrel spending. But come election time, you will hear Sen. McConnell rail against government spending.
This political prevarication, of having his cake and eating it too, is driven by a desperate ambition to climb the ranks and accumulate political power. And no one has been more ambitious and more power hungry than the 30-year career politician from Kentucky.
Shortly after McConnell’s 5,000 vote victory in 1984, the National Journal profiled the freshman senator and wrote this: “Observers say that his single-minded devotion to reaching the Senate reflects personal ambition, not a commitment to a particular political philosophy… He is likely to fit in easily with the growing number of senators whose goal is to gain and hold office, not use their personal ideology to shape the public agenda.”
This brings us to one of the biggest, most important conservative battles of our generation: Obamacare.
Sen. McConnell is quick to tell us that he has checked every box on the “oppose Obamacare” checklist. He has held plenty of press conferences declaring his opposition to Obamacare. But behind the scenes he has done everything in his power to stymie any real chance at eliminating the biggest expansion of government in modern history.
Back in February of 2012, when conservative stalwart Jim DeMint tried to offer legislation to fully repeal Obamacare, the minority leader was concerned the legislation would irk Majority Leader Harry Reid and undermine McConnell’s political plans. So what did he do? He used his political muscle to shut it down.
Then, only a couple of months ago, Sen. McConnell had a chance to vote against the spending bill that contained Obamacare funding, but he caved again. He voted for it.
These offenses are even more egregious when you consider that Sen. McConnell is the de facto leader of the Republican Party. He is supposed to lead by example. He is supposed to be a loud and unapologetic conservative voice in the U.S. Senate and on the national stage. Instead of leading, Sen. McConnell is doing the opposite: he is trying to thwart the true conservative leaders in the Senate.
Utah Senator Mike Lee is leading an effort to defund Obamacare as part of negotiations over the government’s funding bills for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2013. Senator Lee has issued a letter, signed by 13 of his colleagues, declaring:
We view the Obama Administration’s recent decision to delay Obamacare’s employer mandate and eligibility verification for the individual exchanges as further proof the law is a failure that will inevitably hurt businesses, American families, and the economy.
In light of this admission, we believe the only way to avert disaster is to fully repeal Obamacare and start over with a more sensible, practical approach to reforming our healthcare system.
However, if Democrats will not agree with Republicans that Obamacare must be repealed, perhaps they can at least agree with the president that the law cannot be implemented as written. If the administration will not enforce the law as written, then the American people should not be forced to fund it.
Not only has Sen. McConnell refused to sign this letter, he is twisting arms behind the scenes, convincing senators to remove their signatures from Sen. Lee’s letter. To date, five senators have fallen prey to Sen. McConnell’s intimidation tactics.
We can’t afford the luxury of relying on spineless politicians. Time is not our ally. On October 1st, many pieces of Obamacare will be implemented, making the road to repeal that much harder.
In this fight, we need leaders who will not waver in their resolve, who will stand proudly on their convictions, who will defend the principles of limited government and individual liberty, and who will, in the words of Ronald Reagan, raise “a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand.”
This is our last and our best chance to repeal Obamacare.
The time for political doublespeak is over. The time for Republicans to demand more from our leaders is now.
Sen. McConnell, will you stand with Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul in defunding Obamacare, or will you cave, once again, to the soft, cowardly politics of personal ambition?
Matt Bevin is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky.