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GOP Leaders May Become Campaign Targets

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both trailing in the presidential primary polls, are tapping into conservative anger at Washington, D.C., by attacking and defying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — signaling that GOP congressional leaders may become an issue in the campaign.

Since Republicans took control of Congress after the 2014 elections, grassroots conservatives have found themselves frustrated by congressional leaders they see as co-opted by the Washington establishment, where too many expense-account lunches have caused them to forget conservative principles.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his team are reviled by many conservatives and frequently find themselves battling conservative lawmakers.

Both Paul and Cruz took aim last week at McConnell, long viewed by conservatives as an emblem of Washington deal-making and pretend-conservatism.

McConnell, who like Rand Paul is from Kentucky, is under fire from the right this time for a reported deal with Democrats to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. It’s an FDR-era program many conservatives view as a kind of courier for payoffs from Washington politicians to their cronies in the business community.

Cruz took to the Senate floor Friday and crashed through taboos of the clubby chamber, explicitly saying his own majority leader had lied and also revealing comments made in one of the super-secret, weekly luncheons to which each party treats itself.

Cruz charged that McConnell had assured him and other Republicans that he had not made a deal with Democrats in May to stage a vote on the Ex-Im Bank in order to secure their backing for fast-track trade negotiation authority. But McConnell last week decided to put Ex-Im reauthorization to a vote as an amendment to a must-pass highway bill containing billions for roads.

The Senate voted 67-26 Sunday to end debate on the reauthorization, guaranteeing its eventual passage.

“The majority leader looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie,” Cruz said. “And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us.”
“The majority leader looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie,” Cruz said. “And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us.” Several establishment Republican senators then rebutted Cruz’s comments and lamented what they felt was his lack of decorum, among them Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The Hill reported in May that McConnell indeed made such a pledge during a desperate Senate floor huddle with a small group of Democrats as voting on fast track was gaveled to a close. But McConnell claimed last week he had no choice to allow a vote on Ex-Im because supporters were holding hostage other amendments to the highway bill.

McConnell said Sunday there was nothing wrong with holding a vote.

“I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t be allowed a debate and then a vote,” he said from the Senate floor. “When there is some overwhelming bipartisan support for an idea, even if I oppose it, it doesn’t require some special deal to see a vote occur on that measure.”

Paul, meanwhile, joined the fray, defying McConnell after the majority leader blocked Paul’s amendment to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos showing a senior Planned Parenthood official callously musing on the procurement and sale of fetal organs.

“I’m prepared to use every Senate rule at my disposal to force my colleagues on record whether they like it or not,” Paul wrote on Facebook on Friday.
“I’m prepared to use every Senate rule at my disposal to force my colleagues on record whether they like it or not,” Sen. Paul wrote on Facebook on Friday. Paul was seeking to round up support for a petition that would allow him to end-run McConnell with an amendment, but he suggested Sunday he would pursue separate legislation.

McConnell has promised to move quickly on a vote to defund the organization.

Cruz’s focus on the Ex-Im Bank is perfectly tailored for a conservative electorate fed up with Washington insiders who have given them $18 trillion in debt, slow-to-middling economic growth, an unpopular revamp of the health care system, and two inconclusive wars, and who have spent all their entitlement savings.

Broadsides by GOP candidates against McConnell and other GOP leaders may only be beginning.

Republicans running for president and McConnell are particularly operating at cross purposes, given the possibility Republicans could lose the Senate majority. The candidates are hoping to appeal to conservative primary voters by showcasing Washington corruption and incompetence, while McConnell needs to pass legislation to prove to his caucus that he can lead them — and demonstrate to the larger electorate that Republicans can run the Senate.

This article first appeared today on radio talk show host Laura Ingraham’s new website LifeZette.

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41 Responses to GOP Leaders May Become Campaign Targets

  1. McConnell is a sleaze, a RINO and has been doing a very good Harry Reid imitation. Not a whit of difference between the two of them – a distinction without a difference.

    The phone lines to McConnell’s office are jammed. Keep them that way and then send him an email.

    Mitch McConnell is trying to punish Senator Ted Cruz by not letting him sit on the Budget Committee. McConnell’s phone number is 202-224-2541. Pass the word to call his office and jam his phone lines.

    • You better believe it, better than that, he is acting like a socialist who likes the horrible healthcare,is he doing that because his wife is from a communist country and she likes the Obamacare? Dumb and dumber. Anyway, he promised that he would get rid of Obamacare, what a liar, I don’t know who he answers to but he’s a deceiver and a liar. And ugly too. (personal, sorry couldn’t help it.) Boehner also talks a good game but does absolutely nothing about the promises he made to us, he’s in bed with Obama, they say. Another creep, the people hate him too.

  2. Of course they should be the targets of the candidates. Who do the pundits think we’re mad at – the loony Dems and their commie programs or the double-crossing Repubs who promised to end them and didn’t?
    Are the people of AZ angry at SenMcCain because he promised to close the southern border, build the fence, and did nothing – you betcha we are.

    They don’t have to worry about MrsClinton. The MSM will cover for her no matter what shows up in the dirty wash.
    It’s the entrenched establishment of Dems/Repubs who seem to be on one page that offends and outrages the little people in fly-over country.

      • It’s coming, I would think. Cruz (and maybe others) will tear them apart, and they’ll try to ride the high road and get others to defend them, as McConnell has done in this latest kerfuffle. Would be great to know how deep the frustration is within the Congress with these two birds. Very, very deep, no doubt. Neither one is trustworthy, courageous or in the least articulate. They aren’t even politically true Republicans at their core. The K Street lobbyists own them both hook, line and sinker.

        • I love it Grandma, Trump thump == yeah, hurry up Trump! I just hope Trump doesn’t back down and become like them. Because his Ex wife is saying things about Trump now — The Obama admin is desperate now and so is Hillary Clinton, they are looking into his divorce papers. I hope Trump gets even with Obama and Hillary Clinton for these attacks. All these dems should be in jail, baby killers, all of them.

          • Hildabeast has ‘scandal’ tattoed on her tongue…next to the hash # 666.
            Trump can/will? ‘Trump’ her “House of Cards”.
            Looking forward to the upcoming episodes.

  3. Real hot button issue for me. Especially after watching the video on Friday and then again on Sunday of Cornyn and Cruz again.

    One thing that surprised me was that on Sunday Senator Tim Scott (SC) sided with the McConnell Club. I was genuinely surprised. Called his office and told them so.

    Pretty much for me Scott has crossed over and now becomes an understudy for Ayotte when she is unavailable to be sandwiched between McCain and Graham or to prop up either one of them two. Tim Scott. Oh my.

    • Hadn’t heard that. I suppose McConnell is putting real pressure on some senators to go out and defend him, and Scott succumbed. That’s very sad. No profile in courage there, it looks like.

    • McConnell is just another strong armed pimp for these congressmen and senators.
      So is Boehner.

      Rarely do you see someone like Cruz or Lee stand up against them.
      They are all told to conform…..
      I will not conform.
      That is the attitude that Trump has.
      That is the attitude that our Founding Fathers had.
      We will not conform.

      Obama thinks he has this Country under his thumb.
      He thinks he has the congress and the supreme court under his thumb.
      And congress thinks that they have US under their thumb.

      Maybe,….maybe not.

      Time is a wonderful thing.
      One must have patience in all things worth waiting for.

      I want my Country back.

      • Check Wikipedia for info on McConnell and his wife
        “Her father, James S.C. Chao, is a shipping magnate who founded the Foremost Group. In April 2008, Chao’s father gifted Chao and McConnell between $5 million and $25 million, which “boosted McConnell’s personal worth from a minimum of $3 million in 2007 to more than $7 million”[56] and “helped the McConnells after their stock portfolio dipped in the wake of the financial crisis that year”.”
        Fang, Lee (October 30, 2014). “Mitch McConnell’s Freighted Ties to a Shadowy Shipping Company”. The Nation.

  4. And I just read that Pew Research shows that GOP favorability is down since January.

    Maybe time for a new political party.

  5. As the greeks say , Cui Bono ? At this point , the kindest thing to say about the McConnell / Boehner&Co sellout is that is motivated by their love of the fat life in DC . But to be so dishonest, so utterly without honor , one begins to look for the 30 Pieces of Silver , some other motivation . Course there is always Stupidity .

  6. On that Highway (stuffed with pork bipartisan — supposed to be a big deal that Barbara Boxer is supporting it — why not, California?) Anyway, on that Highway Bill — did we ever get an accounting of the Stimulus $25.5 BILLION allocated to highways and bridges? Wasn’t Biden in charge of the accounting? Anybody know the status?

  7. wing of the Republican Party …”the disaffected, the disillusioned”….that’s me. According to Brit Hume. And I don’t think he likes “me” very much.

  8. Here we go again. Administration denied Ft. Hood victims purple heart for 6 years because asshat in the WH will not use the word terror attack. And now he is doing the same with Chattanooga.

    Some Commander in Chief. Nobody gets accolades or awards but him.

    And he spends taxpayer money like water and he will not award the Purple Heart that includes some extra pay and benefits.

    This is serious stuff. What more do we need to see from Barack Obama?