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What Ought The GOP Senators Do Next?

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From my interview with Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander on Tuesday’s show (complete transcript here):

HH: I want to talk about the balance of 2010. If I had a magic wand, I’d make you all go away until we could have a vote on this thing, and a chance to say whether or not the country’s gone too far to the left. But obviously, there are appropriation bills, et cetera. But your colleague, and again, a frequent guest on this program, Lindsey Graham, is evidently engaged in negotiations on immigration, and in negotiations on cap and tax. And Senator Alexander, I just don’t think there’s any stomach for anything. What’s your sense in the Senate right now?

LA: Well, we haven’t seen Lindsey’s plan on cap and tax. My view on that is any step away from an economy-wide cap and trade is a good step. And most all Republican Senators agree with that, and many Democrats do. On immigration, of course we have a responsibility to deal with immigration, but the question is to do what. I mean, if the question is do we have a secure card for everybody who works here, so we can tell they’re legally here, that’s a good idea. If we get control of the border, that’s a good idea. If we help people learn English, that’s a good idea. If we let highly educated people from other countries get a green card so they can stay and create jobs for us, that’s a good idea. All of those are parts of immigration reform that we have a responsibility to deal with. So I doubt we’ll get into that very far this year, or economy-wide cap and trade. I think the issue’s going to be, the President actually said last year, that health care is just a proxy for a larger debate about the role of government and Washington in the lives of Americans. He’s exactly right about that, and that’s what we’ll be debating, and that’s what the election will be about.

HH: Last question, Senator Alexander, Senator Dodd is doing a jam down on the banking regulation rewrite. Are the Republicans going to stand firm, 41 united, against this?

LA: Well, against the bill as it’s presented. We were working hard to try to work across party lines and come up with a sensible bill. But Senator Shelby and Senator Corker did the best they could, and can’t do it. We want legislation that does not expand the role of government. And we want legislation that does not allow big institutions to be too big to fail. So what we’ve mainly got now are amendments to Senator Dodd’s bill, not any ability to work with him.

Pray that the Senate GOP has figured out that this is not the season for “compromise” and “bipartisan negotiation,” but a season for “loyal opposition.” We need to get to November without further disfiguring damage to the Republic, and to a referendum on the president’s hard left lurch.

In the meantime, please contribute to the National Republican Congressional Committee as a thank you for fighting the good fight.

One thing concerns me more than any other: When my producers call some House and Senate offices, their members are “unavailable” for interviews. Passing by a national audience at any time suggests the D.C. GOP still doesn’t understand the moment we are in. In the age of new media, not to speak is to be defined by the opposition.

“Over-communication” ought to be the watch-word on the Hill, not caution and cloister.



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