Archive for Sunday, July 25, 2010

U.S. Senate candidates clash over who’s most conservative

July 25, 2010


The race between two Republican congressmen vying for an open U.S. Senate seat has turned nasty in debates and political ads.

Both Jerry Moran, of Hays, and Todd Tiahrt, of Goddard, have criticized each other on issues including immigration, government spending and taxes, health care and what to do with terrorist suspects.

The lengthy fight for the GOP nomination has been both for the conservative mantle and the label of independent Kansas politician versus Washington insider.

“Do Kansans want a liberal compromiser as a senator? Or do they want someone who is going to fight for the shared values of Kansans?” said Tiahrt, who has represented the state’s 4th Congressional District in south-central Kansas since 1995.

Moran, who took office in the U.S. House in 1997 representing the state’s 1st District of western and central Kansas, has played up a message on cutting federal spending during the campaign.

“(Tiahrt’s) a member of the spending committee, the House Appropriations Committee,” Moran said.

The seat is open because Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is running for governor.

Truth Test: Putting Moran's ad under the microscope

Lawrence Journal-World reporter Scott Rothschild takes a look at the claims made in one of Jerry Moran's campaign ads. Enlarge video


Through debates, interviews and attack ads, both candidates have spent time trying to highlight their own plans for the economy.

Nearly once a week Moran mentions he was one of only 17 House members to vote against every stimulus and bailout proposal. He says job creation can come through a refined tax code that doesn’t rely on higher spending.

“My agenda on day one of being a U.S. senator is to work to hold the line on spending and create a tax environment and a regulatory environment in which businesses can success in putting people back to work,” Moran said.

But Tiahrt’s campaign has accused Moran of voting against the Bush tax cuts in 2003. Moran said he voted against a resolution on the tax cuts. He was worried the plan didn’t cut enough spending, and he later supported the $350 billion Bush tax cut plan.

Tiahrt touts his plan for tax relief, regulatory reform, and relying more on the private sector for health care, energy independence and litigation reform.

He credits his economic stances as the reason for winning endorsements from groups like the Tea Party Express.

“It’s because I’ve got a good plan to get the economy going from the ground up and not the ground down,” Tiahrt said.

Both congressmen joined the new House Tea Party Caucus last week.

On immigration, Moran accuses Tiahrt of voting for “amnesty” for past support of legislation that gives illegal immigrants paths to obtain driver’s licenses and in-state tuition benefits. Tiahrt said he changed his stance from years ago after talking with Kansans about the issue.

Tiahrt has repeatedly said the United States needs to work to “build the fence” or secure borders before moving forward on immigration policy. He has criticized Moran for past support of “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants and said that caused former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., to switch his endorsement from Moran to Tiahrt.

Moran said he voted against the “sanctuary city” concept several times.

During their congressional careers the two receive favorable scores from right-leaning groups, although a few votes stand out. Moran, for instance, broke ranks with most Republicans, including Tiahrt, and did not support the 2003 Medicare prescription drug overhaul because he said it would be bad for the state.

Moran voted in 2009 on expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Tiahrt voted against expanding SCHIP.

Tiahrt says those votes indicate he is the true conservative, but Moran says his overall record shows he votes based on what he believes is best for the state.

Both men support repealing the federal health care overhaul approved earlier this year.

Truth Test: Putting Tiahrt's ad under the microscope

Lawrence Journal-World reporter Scott Rothschild takes a look at the claims made in one of Todd Tiahrt's campaign ads. Enlarge video

The home stretch

The winner of the Aug. 3 primary will be the front-runner to win in the Nov. 2 general election because Kansas is a heavily Republican state.

Moran has consistently held a lead in fundraising and in the public polls, but Tiahrt says primary polls are traditionally unreliable and touts recent endorsements from conservatives such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former top Bush aide Karl Rove and James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.

The most recent Survey USA poll found Moran leading 50 percent to 36 percent among 787 likely primary voters, but Tiahrt’s campaign said the poll shows he is gaining ground.

One pundit said the primary elections are more difficult to predict.

“The polls may be correct of the people they polled, but if on Election Day there was a real surge of very conservative voters, then Tiahrt’s arguments could be true,” said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political science professor who moderated one of the debates.

In the GOP primary, Mound City accountant Tom Little is also running. And former Kansas Attorney General Robert Londerholm, of Overland Park, will be on the ballot, but he is no longer campaigning.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Being the most narrow minded is nothing to be bragging about!

Neither have shown to be fiscal conservatives considering how they boast about supporting GW Bush no matter what.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

USA citizens have gotten duped by the Reaganomics New World Order global economy. A significant portion of the republican platform.

If you study the facts you likely would not vote republican for several decades.

Study these facts and you will understand my position. Repubs are not repubs. They became radical right wing in 1980 and never looked back

The Global Economy and Reagnomics are absolute failures for the USA!!!

This is what I mean:

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist "There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and were part of the Bush Jr. administration. Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this was about one quarter of our national debt").

  2. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers "And, yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities."

  3. Only 3 major Financial Institutions Were at Risk In Spite of What Were Told ? "There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America, Citigroup, those three were clearly in very weakened form. So, many of the other big banks were not.

  4. Privatizing Social Security Would Place the Nations Economy at Risk "Social Security privatization will raise the size of the government's deficit to nearly $700 billion per year for the next 20 years, almost tripling the size of the national debt.

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk--it would likely put the entire economy at risk."

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = tax increases for the middleclass.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

So it's a race to see who can out-Brownback Brownback.

Republicans should be embarrassed by this spectacle (not that they have the intellectual capacity to realize it.)

jaywalker 7 years, 2 months ago

Spoken by someone who doesn't have the intellectual capacity to realize how myopic such statements are.

Randall Uhrich 7 years, 2 months ago

Support Tiahrt. Sure, he's a tea-baggin' fool, but Moron is a much more dangerous idiot.

jaywalker 7 years, 2 months ago

6 degrees of separation from Godwin. Swell.

tomatogrower 7 years, 2 months ago

If their attack campaigns are an example of how they are going to run and govern, then I'll never vote for them.

Jimo 7 years, 2 months ago

“Do Kansans want a liberal compromiser as a senator?"

The real question is do we want more left-wing government programs? List any program passed by this Congress whether the stimulus, health care reform, financial reform, energy taxes, higher income taxes, etc., etc.

Every one of these is a direct consequence of not having a "liberal compromiser" in the Senate. "Hell no" solves no problems.

Politics IS compromise. Failure to compromise may sometimes mean you win. More often, it means that you LOSE. It also means you get a worse law than what could have been. Don't like Obamacare? Blame Brownback, who could have worked for a better law by compromising. (gasp) Now, we're stuck with it no matter how much rhetoric spews forth.

oldexbeat 7 years, 2 months ago

Thank you, Jimo -- good point and way to present it -- although I'm left of it all -- I miss the "I like Ike" crowd (re keeping open to thinking) and the Goldwater crowd, re leaving us all alone with our doctors, religions, and guns.

Moran does not desire to win, in my view. I used to like him. Hoped he would remain more Eisenhower type Republican. He hasn't and he runs like a little puppy towards Tiahrt's positions, thus Tiahrt should win. Might as well get a real Tea Party person, not the fake. (Although I want to see his papers -- never mind...)

Jimo 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't think you have to be an "Eisenhower type" Republican to compromise. Heck, St. Reagan (not at all fond of Eisenhower Republicanism) compromised constantly -- even on "core" beliefs.

Using the health insurance reforms as an example, one short-fall of the law that almost everyone agrees upon is that it does little to constrain cost increases.

Imagine an alternate universe where the GOP traded its votes in return for actual cost-control measures, perhaps by truly empowering patients with the means and incentive to constrain their own health costs? Or perhaps structurally separating minor and predictable health costs from more catastrophic illness and addressing them in different systems?

Ideologues would brand this as not staying true to core beliefs (apparently ignorant of the difference between empirical conclusions and ideological faith). In reality, its just politics, whose purpose after all isn't some eschatological referedum on Truth (no Kingdom of God on Earth) but a practical method of solving mundane earthly problems.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

I think the St. Reagan republicans are a dying or dead breed. Well....except for me of course. I look at Rush as a bit of a moderate.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

Even if I did subscribe to that, which I don't (typical pass-on-the-blame liberal) I'd still say he was an incredible President for getting those hostages freed; immediately...he scared the crap out of the Iranians when they realized their lab boy Jimmy was gone. Then of course he helped to put the final nail in the coffin of the Cold War/USSR. (Notice "helped" I did not say he did it single-handed.)

SeaBee 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, at least we'll have an opposing candidate in the general election.

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