Mitch McConnell poses with public officials. From left: Magistrate Alan Whaley, Magistrate David Fields, Senator Mitch McConnell, Councilman Ron Stinson, Mayor Mark Hart. Photo by Roger McKinney.
By Roger McKinney, Reporter
United States Senator Mitch McConnell met last Friday, July 25, with Pendleton County business leaders and public officials. The gathering took place in Falmouth City Hall’s Council Chambers. Some 75 individuals were in attendance. Falmouth Mayor Mark Hart introduced the Senate Minority Leader. Senator McConnell said “First, I will give you my take on the condition of the country and then the floor will be open for questions.”
“I think our country is in a lot of trouble,” said McConnell, “I remind you that winners make policy and losers go home. There are consequences to an election. In 2008 Barack Obama and his party won a big victory. They captured the Presidency, a 40 seat majority in the U.S. House and they had 60 seats in the U.S. Senate. His party had complete control. And what did they do with that control? They passed a stimulus package. They passed Obamacare. They passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which is Obamacare for the banks. They sent an army of regulators into every aspect of the federal government, crawling all over every business in the country, with the view that if you’re making a profit, you must be up to no good, you’re cheating your customers and you’re mistreating your employees.”
Senator McConnell said that President Obama declared a war on coal that has created a depression in Eastern Kentucky with 21 thousand jobs lost. The senator said that the war has caused utility rates to go up across the state. “This administration has been bad for the country, but it has been particularly for Kentucky.” McConnell said.
The senator speculated on President Obama’s strategy from 2009 through 2010, when he was in complete control, “I think he wanted to turn America into a Western European country, which would be a nation with big debt, high taxes, slow growth and high employment.”
Senator McConnell said that after President Bill Clinton lost the house and the senate in the 1990s he moved away from the left and toward the center and he did business with the Republicans. McConnell said that after President Obama lost the house in 2010 and failed to win it back in 2012, “I thought he might make a Clintonian Pivot back to the center, but he did not.” Then the senator speculated on why Obama didn’t pivot, “I think his strategy is to depend on the regulators to work for the executive branch to achieve his goals and to count on the U.S. Senate to keep him from being interrupted.”
The Minority Leader said, “We know the President has made a mess of the country, but how about overseas? Can you think of any place where we are better off than when he took office?” Senator McConnell said that two years ago the President should have provided weapons to the Syrian Rebels and that he should arm the Ukrainian Military now.
Then, the Minority Leader made a reference to Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, “I have an opponent in this year’s election. The argument is certainly correct that she is a new face, but I remind you that she’s a new face with no change at all. The same senate. The same senate. The same majority leader, who said, (Coal makes you sick!) So, you know how she stands on coal and another vote for Obama.” Senator McConnell continued, “If you want to change the country, change the senate and make me the leader of the majority. We will take America in a totally different direction.”
At this point the floor was open for questions. The first question was: How can EPA regulations for coal burning power plants be improved? Mitch McConnell’s answer was to change the senate, change the president, change the head of the EPA, change the regulators and change the regulations.
The second question was: How do you feel toward women’s rights in regard to equal pay for equal work and about the debate on whether or not to cover contraception? Senator McConnell’s answer was, “The Democrat’s so called War on Women is ridiculous! Just to give you an example of how I lead my own life: Most of you know my wife was Secretary of Labor during the George W. Bush Administration. She’s the only Kentucky woman that’s ever been in a president’s cabinet. I have three daughters. I have a grandson. What a bunch of nonsense that Republicans are anti- women! The issue of equal pay for equal work is important. It’s already the law. And if somebody violates that law they can be sued. And on contraception I don’t know anyone that’s opposed to contraception. Here’s what the Hobby Lobby case was about: There were twenty different types of contraception. The private company that owned Hobby Lobby objected to four of the twenty choices for religious reasons. The Supreme Court said-If you have religious objections to that you can opt out of covering the four. The Democrats are trying to blow that decision into a full scale attack on the availability of contraception, which is nonsense. It is another way to change the subject away from all the damage they’ve done to the country. They don’t want to talk about jobs. They don’t want to talk about Obamacare. If you’re looking for something that’s bad for women, Obamacare ought to be at the top of your list.
The next question was: How would you redo or correct the Affordable Care Act? Senator McConnell critiqued Obamacare and then he explained how he would construct a national health care program.
Mitch McConnell was asked to comment on the trouble at the Veterans Administration regarding health care. The senator said that the department’s head should have the right to fire those who failed to perform their duties properly. He also said, that if veterans had to wait for medical treatment they should have the option to seek services elsewhere. McConnell said that President Barack Obama’s nomination of Bob McDonald for Secretary of Veterans Affairs was outstanding. The Minority Leader said that McDonald’s nomination should be approved within a week.
McConnell was asked about recent changes to the senate’s rules. The senator said that Harry Reid had made changes in order that the president’s nominations to various positions could be more quickly approved. McConnell said, “These guys make it up as they go along.”’
Senator McConnell was asked about the current status of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The senator said he wasn’t up to speed on the law, but he would check it out and get back with the person who asked the question.
After the meeting was concluded Senator Mitch McConnell stood by the exit door and shook hands with each person as they left the chambers.