Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Kay Bailey Hutchison to Remain in the Senate

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Kay Bailey HutchisonSenator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has decided to finish out her term in the U.S. Senate despite repeatedly pledging to retire during her recent run for governor of Texas.

Hutchison, flanked by her colleague from Texas, John Cornyn, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), made a brief statement to the press, announcing her decision, but refused to take any questions, citing “pressing obligations.” Such hurry is curious considering Congress is recessed this week for Easter.

McConnell and Cornyn praised Hutchison and commended her for her decision to break campaign promises. "We need Kay Hutchison in the Senate, and all of her Republican colleagues are grateful that she has decided to stay and fight," McConnell said.

The Senator’s excuse for misleading her fellow Texans: to help protect them from the growth of the federal government.That’s according to the statement she released on her website on March 31.

The “will she stay or will she go” speculations followed the dilemma of Hutchison’s unsuccessful bid for governor of Texas. Incumbent governor Rick Perry received a majority of the vote in the GOP Primary held early in March.

Both Hutchison and Perry faced a formidable challenge in the primary from Debra Medina, a constitutionalist whose impassioned defense of the principles of liberty and small government kindled hope in many Texans that the era of blue blood, country club Republicans running the party in Texas had come to an end. Notwithstanding the surge in Medina’s support and the activism of grassroots volunteers statewide, Governor Perry’s coffers were just too full and thus the hegemony of the same ol’, same ol’ still holds sway in the Lone Star State.

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History would instruct us that Hutchison’s flip-flop was to be expected, since most politicians, once ensconced into a comfortable seat of power with all the perks of incumbency, are reluctant to return home and abandon all the trappings of power. Despite this regular pattern of behavior, more than half a dozen candidates who declared their intention to vie for Hutchison’s seat are now left scrambling for something else to do with their summer holiday.

Predictably, Democrats in Texas criticized Hutchison’s decision. "We never believed she would leave the Senate, and it's disappointing that she refused to shoot straight with Texas voters," said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie said in a statement.

Equally unsurprising was the “selfless” spin her fellow Republicans put on Hutchison’s broken vow.

"She has once again put the state and the country first," said Senator Cornyn, later revealing that he played a pivotal role in the battle to convince Hutchison to sacrifice her honesty for the future of Texas and the United States.

It isn’t difficult to understand Cornyn and McConnell’s delight in Hutchison’s change of heart. As Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee that is charged with working to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate, Cornyn’s life is made much easier if he doesn’t have to choose which of Hutchison’s likely successors would best represent Texas.

McConnell’s position as Senate Minority Leader means that his primary goal is to hold on to the 49 Republican Senate seats and spend every available dollar to fund campaigns of candidates with a shot at unseating a Democrat and thus regaining control of that body.

Governor Perry’s primary victory has noticeably altered his assessment of Hutchison’s conservative values. "Her experience will be crucial to reforming the health care disaster and to holding job-killing cap and trade legislation at bay," Perry claimed.

He sang a different tune during the primary campaign, however, doggedly decrying Hutchison’s legislative record of supporting big-spending bills and branding her as the ultimate Washington insider. It seems now that Perry’s job is secure, he’s happy to laud Hutchison’s decision to say there.

Hutchison’s March 31 statement concluded with a touching revelation of the struggle that preceded her final decision, “On a personal level, this has been a most difficult decision, but after much deliberation, I have decided to complete my term. I will work alongside our great Texas congressional delegation to repeal and replace President Obama’s massive health bill, to stop cap and trade legislation and to cut the deficit the President is building that is putting our economy in peril.”

Just as perilous to the future of our republic is the habitual equivocations of our elected officials. Campaigns are brief, but the memory of a person’s personal trustworthiness is everlasting. In her decision to renege on her campaign commitment to resign from the Senate, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has betrayed her own shaky commitment to something else — the truth.

Photo: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison