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FRANKEL: Why Mitch McConnell’s Bill To Raise The Smoking Age To 21 Is Both A Bad Policy And Bad Priority

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced legislation to make 21 the new federal minimum age for purchasing any tobacco product.

.@Senatemajldr: “Today I’m introducing federal legislation to make 21 the new minimum age for purchasing any tobacco product anywhere in the United States.” pic.twitter.com/qQ86llfUsS

— CSPAN (@cspan) May 20, 2019

This is a terrible idea.

For one, McConnell’s legislation is probably unconstitutional and a violation of the Tenth Amendment, since legislation regarding anything not explicit in the Bill of Rights is, by definition, a state or local issue. This bill would fly directly in the face of basic federalism.

However, putting this obvious issue aside for a moment, our country is going through a plethora of issues which seem to only be getting worse.

For example, Healthcare costs are still rising astronomically due to ObamaCare. Despite McConnell appearing at CPAC in 2013 promising to rip it out “root and branch,” the law is still here for the time being. When the Republicans finally held both houses of Congress and the Presidency, McConnell suddenly disappeared. President Trump has done much of what he could through regulation and repealing the individual mandate of ObamaCare, but McConnell has been in the shadows for the last two years, performing one the biggest betrayals in politics since President George HW Bush’s “read my lips” pledge. And just a month and a half ago, McConnell informed President Trump that the Senate would not move forward with any attempts to repeal the law.

Another is the unprecedented immigration crisis. Our southern border is being invaded, getting worse by the day with no signs of a slowdown. Of course, Trump could, and should, be doing more with the powers of the executive branch, as Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review notes here. But Trump is doing much of what he could unilaterally, such as declaring a national emergency and enacting a policy to keep asylum-seekers in Mexico, for example.

Trump is also correct when he says that if Congress would fix the asylum loopholes, end chain migration and end the idea of catch and release, the immigration crisis would dry up “within fifteen minutes.” Yet the leader of the party in the Senate refuses to bring a bill to the floor addressing these issues or the issue of lawless sanctuary cities. McConnell is nowhere to be found when it counts.

To add insult to injury, when asked about Trump’s proposed strategy for dealing with the border crisis last week, McConnell answered as tepidly as possible:

New — McConnell is noncommittal on Trump’s immigration plan pic.twitter.com/iBl8eFKgdu

— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) May 16, 2019

But McConnell, the de facto leader of the party in Congress, can find time for an unconstitutional bill no one asked for.

The Cocaine Mitch memes can be fun, of course, but we as conservatives need to realize that Mitch McConnell is anything but our ally. He is neither a conservative nor a good leader. If he were, these problems, along with many others, would be much closer to being solved, if not completely gone.

Instead, we have an unprincipled virtue-signaler as the Senate Majority Leader. McConnell schedules a vote on the Green New Deal, knowing that it’s just a dumb stunt to trick voters into thinking he’s owning the Left, but can’t find time to actually help secure the country he swore to defend when he took his oath of office. And a bill to raise the smoking age is just another example of that.

McConnell and his ilk need to be replaced with conservatives, or the Republican Senate is worth very little to the future of conservatism.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @frankeljeremy .

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