When Did Sen. Carnahan Become A Republican?

Column written by James Baughn on Friday, July 19, 2002

from the you-can-vote-republican-or-republican dept.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- If you didn't know any better, you might think Sen. Jean Carnahan was a member of the Republican Party based on the statements made in her re-election TV commercials running across the state. In one spot, she claims she helped "cut bureaucratic red tape" to allow the TWA airline merger to go through, "saving 12,000 Missouri jobs". Another commercial boasts of her support for eliminating the death tax right away instead of phasing it out over a series of years.

The Republican Party can already declare victory in this race. Even if her GOP challenger Jim Talent loses the election, Sen. Carnahan will remain in Washington as a Democrat in name only.

While the rhetoric in her TV commercials and on her website sounds like a Democrat (she doesn't hesitate to attack Republicans with name-calling and fast-and-loose arguments), her policy stands are suspiciously conservative and could be cut-and-pasted directly out of any Republican candidate's campaign.

She supports tax cuts. Meanwhile, the more liberal Democrats believe (but may not say this publicly) that the government really owns all our money and that we are merely borrowing it.

She's against bureaucratic red tape, at least when it stands in the way of saving and creating jobs. This sounds an awful lot like something out of a Republican play book.

She supports increasing military funding for homeland security and defense. In the last decade, the Democrats were quite eager to cut military funding and close bases (conveniently ignoring the fact that military bases employ "working families", that same group of people the Democrats always claim they are fighting for). Now, suddenly, the military has become cool again and Democrats are racing towards what was once a Republican bandwagon.

When it comes to other issues, both Jean Carnahan and Jim Talent seem to say the same things, according to the Issues pages on their websites. The want better health care, improved schools, more freebies for seniors and working families, stronger homeland defense, and a fast economic recovery.

Of course, it would be difficult to find any politician that would take a stand against any of these things ("No, I support crappier schools and horrible medical care..."). The only difference is that, if a Republican wants to spend $10 on something, a Democrat wants to spend $15. Both parties believe in the misguided notion that throwing money at social problems will make them go away, which doesn't seem to work in the Real World. (If it did, why do we still have social problems? The government is certainly spending plenty of money these days.)

The bottom line is that, except for some rhetoric and fluff, Carnahan and Talent are virtually indistinguishable -- and conservative. She supports tax cuts, economic stimulus, business, and the military. The only real difference is that Carnahan makes a point of bashing big, evil corporations while supporting "working families" (a stance that conveniently ignores that fact that many "working families" are employed at those same big corporations). Otherwise, she sounds pretty darn conservative to me.

So, in this year's election, you can choose between a Republican... or a Democrat in Republican clothing.

But what else would you expect in the home state of Rush Limbaugh?