Out With The Old: Bevin v.s. McConnell
February 1st, 2014 | T. Carter
"The Constitution of this country was not a rough draft. It was not a rough draft and we should not treat it as such." - Mitch McConnell
Americans get wary about ousting one of their party's incumbents during a primary. The fear arises from the uncertainty of a new candidate's ability to beat the opposing party's contender during an election. In the state of Kentucky, however, this fear and uncertainty shouldn't be a factor in Republican voter's decisions to replace their incumbent. There should be no fear of losing to a Democrat in Kentucky this year, unless Republicans refuse to change their candidate.
Conservatives will be less likely to vote if McConnell wins the Republican primary. McConnell's approval ratings have dropped to an historic career low. In December, only 31% approved of the job Mitch McConnell has been doing as the Republican Senate Minority Leader. This creates a significant vulnerability for Republicans going into the 2014 mid-term elections. McConnel has lost favor in the places where it matters most: the hearts of conservatives.
Despite his vocal defense of the US Constitution, McConnell trampled the Constitution when he supported the Protect America Act, which allows warrantless wiretaps and the monitoring of electronic communications between American citizens. In 2012, McConnell urged a vote in the US Senate that would have granted President Obama unilateral power to raise America's debt ceiling.
Since McConnell's election in 1984, Kentucky has become a strong Republican state, making the likelihood of a Democratic win meager. However, as McConnell's approval rating plummets along with his conservative values, Republicans risk losing Kentucky for the first time in 30 years.
With the support of the Madison Project and other conservatives like Mark Levin, Matt Bevin is putting up a tough fight that he hopes will take him to the US Senate.
Bevin has put his family life in the forefront, along with his conservative values. The father of nine children, four of which were adopted from Ethiopia, Bevin crosses off "racism" as a liberal playing card for his opponents. He also served on the board of the Louisville Red Cross and has spent time volunteering in Africa. Adding to his impressive credentials, Bevin spent over four years in the US Army and eventually gained the rank of Captain. Unlike McConnell, Bevin has no political baggage to take into the 2014 elections.
To survive and adapt to a changing environment, parties must accept change. They can't continue to take chances with their dirty laundry and the hope that people will forgive, forget, or move on. McConnell has served since 1984 and failed to change with America's flourishing, grassroots conservative movements. As a new appreciation for personal rights and the Constitution take hold of young conservatives, the "do or die" moment for the Republican Party has arrived.
Unlike Mitch McConnell, who has become a career politician, Matt Bevin is an entrepreneur and has acted as president of his family's business, Bevin Brothers Manufacturing. It's this type of experience that most long-term politicians in Washington have come to lack. Balancing a budget with unlimited sources of funding is a far cry from balancing a budget that relies on profits and a good business strategy. This is the type of business expertise that separates business leaders from career politicians. This is the type of expertise needed in Washington.
Just like Mitch McConnell, anyone can oppose gun control laws, healthcare laws, and stand up for the US Constitution. Most any conservative could do what Mitch McConnell has done, but without the baggage and growing fatigue that plagues most long-term incumbents. The conservative movement in America depends on change. The sustainability of such movements rely heavily on adaptability.
The past two elections in Kentucky that have kept McConnell in power show signs of waning conservative enthusiasm. In 2002, McConnell beat his Democratic contender, Lois Combs Weinberg, with a spread of 29%. In 2008, McConnell's victory shrunk to just 6% over Bruce Lunsford. A lot can change during a Senator's six year term and, in McConnell's case, his approval ratings show a troubling trend that is heading in the wrong direction.
If the Republicans of Kentucky keep Mitch McConnell, the likelihood of them losing their seat to a Democrat rises. In most circumstances, keeping an incumbent is the safe choice. For Kentucky Republicans in 2014, keeping the incumbent is a liability.
McConnell has served Kentucky and conservatives to the best of his ability since 1984. He opposed Obama's gun control measures and he voted against Obamacare, but his time has run out and his efforts can be equally and safely matched by a fresh new face. It's time for Republicans to appreciate Mitch McConnell and his valued contributions to their party... while parting their ways. The change that American conservatives need to survive starts in Kentucky.