Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was bullied by the Tea Party into opposing President Obama’s stimulus package in 2009, according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.
Included in the numerous emails, memos, financial records, and fundraising documents leaked from FreedomWorks, a national tea party group, was a memo from its CEO Matt Kibbe addressed to its board members.
The memo discussed the efforts that FreedomWorks took to derail the Obama administration, particularly his $787 billion stimulus package. Kibbe said that not all congressional Republicans were on board with blocking the stimulus, namely McConnell:
“Early in the stimulus battle, we learned that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was leaning towards letting Senate Republicans ‘vote their conscience,’ code words for an unwillingness to lead. Our campaign team was able, with just several hours notice, to mobilize a grassroots firestorm that systematically shut down every phone line in the Leader’s offices, both in Washington, DC, and in Kentucky. This unreported story resulted in a very strong Senate Republican Leadership position opposing the trillion-dollar stimulus bill and a surprisingly unified opposition in the Senate.”
Basically, McConnell was ready to let the Senate Republicans vote as they felt appropriate for the situation, meaning that some of them could have possibly voted for the stimulus package as the economy was on the brink of complete collapse. It wasn’t until FreedomWorks interfered that McConnell directed all 40 Republican senators to vote no.
If the leaked memo is true, it could do some real damage to McConnell’s re-election bid against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, the commonwealth’s current Secretary of State. He has based his campaign platform on his true conservatism and continuous opposition to President Obama. McConnell currently leads Grimes in the polls by just two points.
FreedomWork’s ability to bully politicians in to supporting radical tea party ideas at all costs shows just how weak the majority Republican party really is. Even when they know opposing certain policies isn’t good for the country, they are too scared to stand up for themselves.