Is one of the U.S. Senate’s top Republican squishes on his way out in 2020?
Rumor is, Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. is considering retirement. The 76-year-old moderate has served as governor of Tennessee, secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. He has run for president twice.
Were Alexander to run for and win reelection in 2020, he would be 86 at the end of his term. But should he choose not to, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning has been mentioned as a potential candidate.
But if you ask the senator, he’s not even thinking about 2020. “I’m focusing on reauthorizing higher education, fixing the health-care system for all of the Tennesseans who are about to be left in the lurch without insurance, and I’m not thinking about that [race],” Alexander told Memphis’ Commercial Appeal.
“I’m doing all of the things a person would normally do to be in a position” to run for reelection, Alexander said. “But I have the luxury of not having to think about that every two years.”
Given Alexander’s record and 15% Liberty Score©, it could prove to be a big win for conservatives. Alexander came to the U.S. Senate in 2002 after overcoming vigorous conservative opposition in Tennessee. Perceiving Alexander to be a moderate, conservatives supported Rep. Ed Bryant, R-Tenn. in the primary. But Alexander won and went on to confirm the fears of Tennessee conservatives.
Lamar Alexander has repeatedly voted to increase the debt ceiling, he has supported profligate spending, he has voted in favor of earmarks, in favor of the crony Export-Import Bank, to fund Obamacare, to fast-track TPP, to subsidize green energy home loans, to bail out Puerto Rico, and to increase funding for Planned Parenthood.
He likes to portray himself as one of the most bipartisan senators as cover for his squish politics. As the No. 3 Republican in Senate leadership at the time, Alexander was the first Republican senator to back President Obama’s liberal nominee Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.
To make his “bipartisanship” palatable for conservatives, Alexander has a habit of lying about the content of the bills he backs. For example, he coauthored a massive federal education bill that would expand Washington D.C.’s control over education, all the while telling conservatives he was “ending the national school board.”
He’s tried the same tactic with amnesty for illegal immigrants. In his 2014 primary against Joe Carr, Alexander claimed that he voted against amnesty. This was a lie, as he voted for the 2013 Gang of Eight amnesty bill. After winning his primary election, Alexander did an about-face on illegal immigration. He worked with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to squash a conservative amendment to his education bill that would have cut off funding for sanctuary cities.
On top of this all, on repealing Obamacare – the first fundamental challenge of the Trump administration — Lamar Alexander has been a voice for the “fix” or “repair” camp, breaking the GOP’s six-year promise to fully repeal the disastrous health care law.
Sen. Alexander’s retirement would be a welcome blessing for conservatives – indeed, for the country. But his aides are dismissing those rumors, and Tennessee Republicans have not spoken to Peyton Manning about his potential political ambitions.
Alexander’s liberal record is plain for everyone to see. If he is unwilling to let go of power in 2020, it will be up to the voters in Tennessee to send him to his retirement.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in Politics and Economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are Conservative Political Philosophy, the American Founding, and Progressive Rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.