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The Evolution of Senator John Cornyn of Texas

John Cornyn Evolution

Texas’ senior Senator John Cornyn, who is now also the Senate Majority Whip, started his career as a fairly conservative Texas Republican and has steadily moved to the “center” as he rose through the insider ranks of the Senate Republican Conference. “I’ve evolved,” Senator Cornyn told CQ Roll Call reporters Humberto Sanchez and Niels Lesniewski in a wide ranging interview published this week. (link at the end of this article)

After reading the interview conservatives might fairly ask Senator Cornyn “evolved into what?”

Two years ago Cornyn wrote an op-ed titled “Partial Government Shutdown May Be Needed to Restore Fiscal Sanity.” (link at the end of this article) In that op-ed Cornyn wrote:

In December 2010, it was the two-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. In the spring of 2011, a government shutdown was narrowly averted by a midnight vote on Capitol Hill. The following summer brought us to the brink once more when the president walked away from the negotiating table on a deal surrounding the debt ceiling. And, of course, Congress rang in the new year with a last-minute escape from the largest tax increase in American history.

In every instance, the looming deadline for action has been obvious. And in every instance, the White House has purposefully slow-walked the process in a shameless attempt to score cheap political points.

The result has been a series of manufactured crises that have brought the country to the brink of economic catastrophe. This is a terrible, acrimonious way of doing business. It diminishes global confidence in the United States, and it is a disservice to the American people. Simply put, this must change.

And in his interview with CQ Roll Call he outlined what his idea of “change” is now that Republicans have regained the majority in the Senate: No more fights with President Obama.

Cornyn told Sanchez and Lesniewski he’s already looking ahead to the burden of raising the debt ceiling — always a politically toxic vote, but one that typically rests with the majority party.

Cornyn and Republican leaders intend to see that “it gets done with a minimum of drama,” but maybe with a bit more robust debate.

“I just wonder if maybe that isn’t the better way to do this,” Cornyn said of taking the debt limit bill through committee. “If there’s anything I think we would benefit from and I think the public would benefit from, it’s more transparency. Because when you don’t have that kind of transparency … it really just encourages cynicism and suspicion about what’s happening up here.”

Getting rid of “cynicism and suspicion” sounds like a good idea, except that Cornyn went on to outline a plan that sounds to us like the very definition of cynicism.

Cornyn said Republicans would use a variety of methods to handle unwanted amendments.

“You could agree on a side-by-side that will allow them their political vote and give us our vote and both of them, given a 60 vote threshold, will likely fail, and then move on,” Cornyn told CQ Roll Call.

We need to provide our members … a vote on something that they want to go to their constituents and brag about rather than just purely playing defense,” he added.

There also will be votes to table unwanted amendments.

But, he indicated that sometimes, unwanted amendments might be accepted just to get a bill to conference.

“I still remember the days back when [the late Alaska Republican] Ted Stevens was the bill manager on a piece of legislation … people would come out of the woodwork with different amendments and he’d say, ‘Well, senator, we’ll take that amendment,’” Cornyn said to Sanchez and Lesniewski. “You knew what was going to happen next, and sure enough, it was nowhere to be seen after it came out of conference committee.

So, rather than fighting and winning fights with President Obama by using the power of the purse and the other tools the Constitution bestows upon Congress to rein-in an out-of-control, power-grabbing President, what Senator Cornyn is advocating is giving his Republican colleagues show votes they can brag about to their constituents and then caving-in to Obama.

If the theory of evolution is indeed fact, then based on his interview with CQ Roll Call, it appears that John Cornyn has evolved from a Texas conservative into just another insider politician.

We urge you to call John Cornyn (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) and let him know you expect him and the new Republican Senate majority to fight for conservative principles, not engage in show votes before caving-in to Obama and the Democrats.

Here’s a link to Cornyn’s interview with CQ Roll Call.

Here’s a link to his op-ed from the start of the last Congress saying a partial government shutdown might be necessary.

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