Thursday, September 26, 2013

Republicans Behaving Badly-- Ignoring Reagan's 11th Commandment

The Eleventh Commandment was a phrase popularized by Ronald Reagan during his 1966 Gubernatorial run.  The Eleventh Commandment idea had itsgenesis from California Republican State Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson after the 1964 Presidential campaign, when conservative GOP nominee Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) was savaged by East Coast country club Republicans who did not like Goldwater's style or politics.

It is interesting to see how this political precept is held by present day politicians, particularly Congress critters  afflicted with Potomac Fever.

To win the Republican nomination for President in 2008, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the senior Senator from Arizona, ran proclaiming that he was a "foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution."  Yet consider how "the Maverick" Senator treats his "friends" in this session of Congress.   When Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) held a 13 hour filibuster of CIA John Brennen's nomination, Senator McCain chose to call several of his caucus confreres as "wacko birds."

To his credit, Senator McCain uttered televised regrets shortly afterwards for this infelicitous invective.  But McCain did not seem to mean it as aides indicate McCain's  disdain for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in what can only be described in raw terms.  Yet Senator McCain had the temerity to task Democrat  Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to ask for 15 minutes at the end of Cruz's filibuster.  It is a good thing that Cruz had the good sense to ignore this entreaty, as McCain used his time to denounce Cruz's efforts. 

This is not an isolated example of Senator McCain bad mouthing other members of his caucus with whom he disagrees.  As Republicans were positioned to score major victories in the 2010 Congressional elections, Senator McCain denounced the enthusiasm of Tea Party types as being hobbits.  

McCain's scorn for the Tea Party makes sense, as he governs as a progressive member of the Cocktail Party, even though he  runs as one conservative hombre.  Moreover, McCain used his floor time  after Cruz's filibuster to waive the whiteflag to Democrats and declare the elections matter and the Republicans lost the Obamacare fight.  While President Obama did win re-election in 2012, he did not premise his campaign on Obamacare.  In addition, federal elections do not have the ability to do referenda on legislation.  Furthermore, legislators are not bound to decisions made by their predecessors. 

Another "independent" Republican voice who unabashedly ignores the Eleventh Commandment is Congressman Peter King (R-NY 02).  As a northeastern Republican Representative, King's weltanschauung will be considerably more "squishy" than conservative colleagues to the south.  But this should not give him license to bash his GOP brethren, in most uncharitable and insulting ways. 

Congressman King denounced Senator Cruz as a “kamikaze pilot" and “medicine man selling goods he knows are phony goods.”  If that wasn't enough, King proclaimed “those I’ve spoken to think he’s [Cruz] crazy.” OK,  you've denounced your colleague as a fraud, crazy and suicidal--one wonders why.

Maybe it has something to do with Peter King's crazy idea that he should run forPresident.  Bad mouthing fellow Republicans works well to get John McCain more TV time on talking heads shows (and has also helped Senator McCain's scion Meghan McCain plenty of exposure in the media too).  One can not forget that Rep. King's district is in the New York City, which appealing to moneyed "independents" or those who wish to stifle conservatives can channel funds.  This seems  akin to former Utah Governor and Obama's Ambassador to China John Huntsman's (R-UT) quixotic strategy in running for the GOP nomination in 2012. 

Representative King ought to remember the fate of the last couple  Members of the House who ran for President.  In the 2012 cycle, former Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI 11th) launched an ill planned Presidential campaign for a couple of months in 2011, presumably to improve name recognition for later political contests. McCotter was so taken with Potomac Fever that he failed to get enoughvalid signatures to run for the primary for his Congressional seat in 2012, so he resigned.   Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN 6th) ran a more credible race for the Republican nomination.  But she barely won re-election in the 113th Congress in a tough district.  Bachmann has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2014.

But of course, McCotter and Bachmann are different cases because they do not make it a habit to bad mouth their fellow Republicans.  Surely, Representative Peter King's telegenic looks, his pleasant demeanor as well as his principled reputation will put him in good stead once he loses his position of power as House Homeland Security Chair and is no longer useful to the Lamestream Media.  

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