After the 2006 election, the question you heard conservatives asking over and over again was, "Did the Republicans learn anything from their defeat?"
As we now know, regrettably the answer to that question is "no" -- and so we're back once again trying to figure out if the GOP's 2nd savage beating in a row has stirred them from the Beltway bubble they've been firmly ensconced in over the last few years.
I would suggest to you that there is one surefire way to tell if the Republican Party has learned anything from the 2nd straight whooping that it has received, one test that will determine if we're going to come back in 2010 or remain wandering in the wilderness. If, as expected, Mitch McConnell is once again elected as Senate Minority Leader, then the GOP is still so far out of touch that they need a telescope to see the interests of the people who sent them to Washington in the first place.
Mitch McConnell is another one of these Republicans who came to Washington to drain the swamp and ended up deciding to pal around with the alligators. Some people might protest that isn't true -- and indeed, there was a time when Mitch McConnell was a genuine conservative leader.
However, McConnell has been inside the Beltway since 1984 and over time, he has learned to love the "compassionate conservative" kool-aid that has poisoned the Republican Party.
Just take a look back at Mitch McConnell's so-called "leadership."
McConnell supported amnesty in the Senate and even after it failed, he led the way in bringing it back. How many millions of dollars and votes did that finger in the eye of conservatives cost the Party in 2008?
The GOP's support of the bailout bill cost them seats in 2008, likely cost John McCain the election, and in the end turned out to be a very bad, very socialistic idea that didn't fix the problem. Of course, we can once again thank Mitch McConnell for helping to lead the Republican Party down that blind alley.
Speaking of blind alleys, we can't forget the Bridge to Nowhere. McConnell voted for it -- twice. When Tom Coburn showed some actual leadership on an issue that mattered to conservatives and tried to push through an amendment to move the money for the bridge over to Louisiana in order to help repair damage done by Katrina, Mitch McConnell voted against that common sense maneuver.
Even worse, McConnell actually campaigned this year on bringing pork back to Kentucky. That's right, folks, the Republican "leader" in the Senate got elected because he told voters in his home state that he could bring home more bacon than the other guy,
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Kentucky voters would make a terrible trade if they replaced him with a Democrat lacking the clout to deliver huge amounts of federal money he took credit for bringing back to the Bluegrass state.
...The senator drew applause from the business crowd when taking credit for bringing $500 million in federal funding back to the state last year.
He said that amount towers over the sums delivered by freshmen Senate Democrats.
"Just measuring clout related to state-specific issues, this would be a pretty tough trade - you trade me in for a rookie," McConnell told the crowd.
In other words, Mitch McConnell is representative of everything that's wrong with the Republican Party. He's a charisma-free, pro-amnesty, big government Republican who was in charge during a two-year period when the GOP lost AT LEAST 6 Senate seats (It could be more by the time it's all over).
What kind of message would it send to the Republican base and to the American people if Mitch McConnell is re-elected as Senate Minority Leader? That the Republicans are still big spenders? That the GOP rewards failure? That the Senate Republicans are more interested in their chummy little social club than looking out for the American people?
It would say all of those things and most importantly, it would send one overriding message loud and clear: the Republicans in the Senate didn't learn a d*mn thing from the 2008 election. It's just business as usual.
So, what can you do about this? Well, the leadership elections are about a week and a half away. If you're a blogger, write about it. If you're a talk radio host, talk about it. If you're a party activist, a big donor, or someone with sway, start pulling some strings. If you're just "Joe Sixpack" who wants to see the Party get back to its conservative roots, call your senator if he's a Republican -- and tell him you're going to judge the Senate GOP based on whether Mitch McConnell is the Senate Minority Leader in 2009. After you call your senator, write your favorite blogger, call your favorite talk show host, email your friends -- tell them all to oppose Mitch McConnell as Senate Minority Leader. But, who will replace him? Let the Republican senators pick anyone they want as long as it's not the guy who, besides George Bush and John McCain, is most responsible for the debacle the GOP just suffered through at the ballot box.
Folks, now is not the time for conservatives who care about our country to pout or slink off into the woodwork. Now is not the time for conservatives to sit down and shut up while the same people who have ruined the party for eight years fritter away another election cycle pushing the same failed policies. If conservatives stand up, send a message right from the beginning that the status quo is not acceptable, and convince Republican senators to dump Mitch McConnell -- then maybe, just maybe we can get the Republican Party going back in the right direction again.
You want to change the Republican Party? You want to do something to fight back against the Left? You want to try to save your country from the socialists that are going to spend the next four years looting, pillaging, and despoiling it? Then stop moping, stop complaining, say, "enough's enough" and do your part to stop Mitch McConnell!
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