You Shouldn’t Compromise Your Principles

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the $15 billion automaker bailout earlier this week, I was disappointed, but not nearly as disappointed as I was that Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) voted for the bailout. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

Before I get too far into this post, let me make a few statements. I understand that Thaddeus McCotter is from Michigan, a state that has been hit hard by this economic downturn because of their ties to the automotive industry. I understand he is an elected representative, whose job is to represent the constituents who live in his district. And, I understand that many of his constituents probably support the bailout effort and demand that he do so as well.

Rep. McCotter has made no secret of his support of this bailout, yet he adamantly fought against other bailout efforts in the past. Apparently, supporting taxpayer funded programs to prop up failing U.S. businesses is only correct if it happens to involve businesses that have a direct impact on your own district. It’s a shame too, because unlike many other members of Congress, I really didn’t think Rep. McCotter was a hypocrite. I thought he was one of those elected officials we could believe in. You know, someone who we could actually trust and who would stand up on their principles and do the right thing for our country.

It seems I, like many other people, was mistaken.

Thaddeus McCotter is not just any representative. He is the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. You remember the Republicans don’t you?

I know it’s hard to recollect, but they were once the party that stood for less government. They were once the party that believed that government worked best when it stayed out of people’s business. They were once the party that believed in fiscal responsibility, and this bailout (as well as the others) is anything but fiscally responsible.

As chairman of the House Republican Policy Commitee, Rep. McCotter is the Number 4 ranking Republican. The support of this bailout (and any of the others) by any Republican member of Congress is bad enough, but what type of signal is being sent when a member of the Republican leadership supports increasing the role of the government and spending money with no fiscal responsibility? Is that the message he should be sending to his fellow members, let alone the American people?

Tonight, the Senate is holding a cloture vote on the bill. Until this week, passage of the bill seemed like a sure thing, thanks to the efforts of Representatives like Mr. McCotter, but things tend to change when real conservatives step up and stand up on their principles.

Republican members of the Senate refused to roll over and play dead like some of their House counterparts, and refused to support the measure. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) offered an amendment to the bill that required several concessions by the United Auto Workers and those negotiations broke down because the UAW refused to negotiate on wages and benefit cuts.

Senate Republicans made the effort to compromise and when that didn’t work they stood by their principles and worked to defeat the bill. The bill died in a 52-35 cloture vote, thus ending the idea of an automaker bailout for the remainder of the year. Allowing the automakers to go bankrupt and restructure is a far better alternative to throwing taxpayer money at an industry that simply cannot survive without restructuring anyway.

If your Senators or Representative voted against the measure this week, make sure you call them and tell them thank you. Remind them why you voted for them in the first place.

As the 110th Congress comes to an end, we need to remember that Democrats will have much more power during the upcoming 111th Congress. We also need to remind those Republicans who were re-elected that they were re-elected because the American people believed they would not compromise their principles like Rep. McCotter was so quick to do this week.