Half Past the Month
(For the use of the membership only.)
“May you live in interesting times.” — Chinese curse
HAVE YOU NOTICED anything different about your Republican friends? Your co-workers? The market researchers tell us that they are more “engaged” politically. That may be a nice way of saying more opinionated.
This is good, or eventually so. The problem is that most of the newly engaged are grabbing hold of issues that have been banging around for decades if not centuries — gun control, to name one now in the fore. They could be called “pronouncers,” unabashedly pronouncing opinions formed on the drive to work, independent of constitutional principal or historical base. It is a dangerous time.
One such pronouncement is the importance of finding a Senate candidate “as conservative” as Dan Coats, who, after almost three decades of inconsequential service, is retiring again far from the banks of his supposedly beloved Wabash.
If, as the Libertarians say, the road to hell is paved with Republicans, this man is a veritable Indy 500 of good intentions lost on the turns. Meaningful systemic reforms? He beat them like rented mules. Here are the high points in the career of a conservative Indiana icon:
- He was the only sitting Republican senator to have voted for the “Brady” gun control bill.
- One of only 14 Republicans to vote to override President Bush’s veto of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- One of only 18 Republicans who voted for a Family and Medical Leave Act that would have required employers to offer three months of paid medical leave.
- Voted to raise the debt ceiling 13 times.
- Voted in favor of an emergency price-control scheme for petroleum that had been vetoed in President Reagan’s last term.
- Voted in favor of overriding President Reagan’s veto of a 1987 bill to reauthorize the Clean Water Act.
- Voted in favor of Clean Air Act amendments that limited coal emissions. (His vote, according to Conservative Review, was cast because he saw rising plumes of smoke and steam from factories on his flights from D.C. to Indiana and decided that, “You know, we’ve really got to do something.” *
- Voted in favor of advancing the “Gang of Eight” Amnesty Bill.
- Voted in favor of confirming John Kerry for Secretary of State.
- Championed the failed appointment of Harriett Miers as nominee to the Supreme Court of the U.S.”
- Voted to reauthorize the Import-Export Bank.
- Voted against an amendment repealing the ethanol import tax subsidy.
- Voted against limiting subsidies to millionaire farmers.
- Voted to increase support for the International Monetary Fund.
- Voted against an amendment balancing the budget within five years without raising taxes.
- Voted in favor of maintaining federal subsidies for student loans.
- Voted in favor of the Senate-negotiated deal to end a government shutdown that raised the debt limit and funded Obamacare.
- And, of course, voted against cutting congressional pay by 15 percent or limiting senatorial terms.
Last week his office announced that the senator is rethinking whatever was his thinking on gun rights. If Dan Coats is to be the standard for the new conservatism, liberalism will soon be superfluous.
— Craig Ladwig
*Vote characterizations from Conservative Review.