Senator Mitch McConnell has been awfully quiet lately. After making it clear in October that he would never again fight Obamacare in the budget or a debt ceiling increase, he has fallen off the face of the earth. Harry Reid pulled the nuclear option in the Senate, yet McConnell has not threatened to hold up the deals on the farm bill or new budget conference. In fact, he hasn’t commented on them at all. He hasn’t even commented on Obama’s Iran capitulation, an issue in which he presumably shares our views.
So what is Mitch McConnell doing as the most powerful Republican in Washington?
He’s fundraising for Thom Tillis, the Charlie Crist of North Carolina, at the house of a Fannie Mae lobbyist.
“A Washington, D.C., fundraiser scheduled for this week for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican candidate for Senate, will feature a few big GOP names, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., are also slated to attend, according to an updated invitation sent out Monday and obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Thursday's breakfast event will be at the home of Geoffrey Gray, a lobbyist who has represented Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among additional interests in banking, financial and other sectors. The event is $500 to $1,000 per head and up to $2,500 for political action committees.
McConnell's political action committee has donated to Tillis' campaign, but the appearance at the fundraiser of the Senate's top Republican is an important, visible stamp of approval for Tillis' candidacy. McConnell's colleague, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed another Republican in the North Carolina Senate primary, physician Greg Brannon. Still, Tillis, the favored candidate of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, holds a considerable fundraising advantage.”
McConnell has a habit of endorsing the most liberal candidate in a primary, as he did with Trey Grayson, Charlie Crist, and Arlen Specter. Thom Tillis, the current Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly, fits right in with those names:
- He opposed the state’s marriage amendment, which won with 61% of the vote last year.
- As Speaker, he is blocking conservative efforts to halt Common Core in the state.
- He voted for green energy mandates in 2007. Then when the bank he owns, Aquesta Bank, became one of the few institutions engaging in solar energy loans, Tillis blocked conservatives from repealing the mandate (after Republicans took over the general assembly).
- He is a pay-for-play venture socialist at its worst. In fact, he could put the people on K Street to shame without ever having served in Washington. He supported a Democrat to serve on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors because he gave a lot of money to Tillis’s campaign. He has also pushed expansion of toll roads for his special interests and has recruited primary challengers against conservative representatives who oppose them.
- He dramatically watered-down the Republican Voter ID law.
Not surprisingly, his views on illegal immigration will be colored by special interests.
Thom Tillis will fit in very well with Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove in Washington. There is no reason why Senator Kay Hagan should win reelection next year, but conservatives are not exactly excited about replacing her with someone like this.
Mitch McConnell is the defacto head of the NRSC, and there’s no reason they should be supporting Tillis so early in the campaign. Aside for being the most liberal Republican in the race, there is no evidence that he would be the strongest candidate. In fact, his laundry list of sleazy pay-for-play special interest connections will give the Democrats more than enough fodder to distract from Obamacare and keep the seat.
This is yet another failure of judgment on the part of McConnell. Then again, he needs as many allies in the Senate as he can get.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project