The following op-ed, written by MOGOP Chairman David Cole, was originally published in The Missouri Record:
We are more than one-fourth of the way through the 2010 campaign cycle, and the most compelling question that has emerged is this: Where is Robin Carnahan? For the Missouri Republican Party, this theme began after she released a rehearsed YouTube video announcing her intention to run for Senate and promptly disappeared—no public events, no press conferences, nothing. Even this website [The Missouri Record] has made light of Carnahan’s apparent disappearance, humorously noting that her only public announcement to date came when she revealed that she had named her new-born foal “Moxie.” But at some point, Carnahan’s refusal to engage voters in a substantive discussion of the most pressing issues of our time ceases to be a laughing matter. That time has come.
Our nation is embroiled in a once-in-a-generation debate over legislation that will fundamentally transform the role of the federal government—changes that will have a profound effect on the lives of ordinary citizens. Democrats who control Congress and the White House are not proposing a minor reorganization of the bureaucracy, but a revolutionary—and irreversible—increase in the power of Washington, DC, over the lives and livelihoods of every American.
Given her virtual silence, we can only wonder if Robin Carnahan is the only person in the country without a position on these monumental changes.
In the seven months since she announced her candidacy, Carnahan has done her best to keep voters in the dark about where she stands on the issues. All she has offered are vague statements and overly-broad non-answers.
The worst part is that the media is allowing her to get away with it. Whether it is Guantanamo Bay, the national energy tax, health care, or a host of other important issues facing the nation, the media has decided to give Carnahan a pass. In many instances, they have been willing to print her outlandish quotes without asking follow-up questions or demanding real answers.
When asked about Barack Obama’s pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility without revealing where he planned to send the world’s most radical and dangerous terrorists, Carnahan said: “There’s pretty wide consensus that we need to get past Guantanamo…We need to do things that reflect our values.” Unfortunately, no one knows what this means.
On the Democrats’ proposed national energy tax, which even Barack Obama acknowledges will cause everyone’s energy rates to “necessarily skyrocket,” Carnahan advocated a fairy-tale energy policy. According to the St Louis Beacon, “she hopes [Congress] can work together to find a commonsense solution to promote alternative energy and help decrease dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and curb pollution—without sticking consumers with the bill.” Of course, if Carnahan has a plan that will magically solve our energy problems, then she is doing the nation a grave disservice by keeping it a secret.
What’s worse than her refusal to take a position on “cap-and-trade” is her willingness to stand by and allow her liberal Washington allies to do the dirty work for her. When the League of Conservation Voters launched a false and dishonest attack ad against her opponent, Roy Blunt, Carnahan refused to condemn it—which amounts to a tacit approval of their tactics and their big-government message.
Most egregious—and most unacceptable—is Carnahan’s absolute refusal to detail her position on the Democrats’ proposed experiment with our nation’s health care system. That she is “open” to a public option and a massive tax increase is revealing of her liberal ideology, but she has not talked candidly about the $1 trillion price-tag, the unfunded mandates, or the destruction of the private insurance market.
And what about the soaring national debt? Or the government takeover of General Motors? Or the Freedom of Choice Act—an attempt to strike down Missouri’s pro-life laws with a one-size-fits-all federal abortion mandate?
There has only been one issue on which Carnahan has taken a firm position: card-check—but it was only after she ignited a firestorm of controversy by shamelessly dodging multiple questions while standing on a stage next to Jimmy Hoffa, Jr, who delivered an endorsement by the Teamsters Union. Then, after three days of speculation and criticism, her spokesman sheepishly admitted that Carnahan does, in fact, support Big Labor’s effort to remove a worker’s time-honored right to a secret ballot in union elections.
The logical question is, “Why the evasion, Robin?” Is it a lack of understanding of today’s most important issues? Is it a cynical consultant-created, focus group tested strategy that says her best chance at winning is to stay quiet? Is it indifference to what Missourians think?
The most bizarre explanation of her thought-process came from Carnahan herself, when she refused to take a position on the health care bill, instead claiming she needed to go to Washington to get a “first-hand look” at its provisions. Does Carnahan really believe that it takes a trip to Washington to solidify her views on one of the most contentious issues of the past decade?
Thousands of Missourians on both sides of the debate who have passionately expressed their opinions at townhall meetings across the state would likely disagree.
Carnahan’s campaign is an insult to the “Show Me State” and the very Missourians from whom she is seeking a promotion, and her apparent belief that voters do not care where she stands is a slap in the face to everyone who values representative democracy and vigorous debate.
Missouri needs a statesman who will stand up for us against an out-of-touch Democratic majority and the quickening encroachment of big government into the lives of ordinary Americans—not a politician who will reflexively vote however Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid dictate.