GOP Senate Majority? Then What?
It's Time for New Leadership
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” –James Madison (1792)
If you’ve been holed up in some alternate universe for the last six weeks, you may have missed the collective consensus of political pundits and prognosticators that, in the upcoming November 4th midterm election, Republicans will pick up at least the six U.S. Senate seats needed for majority control.
If the current polling trends are borne out by the only poll that really matters – Election Day – then Republicans will win enough Senate seats to claim majority status. Still, an old farmer would no doubt caution, “Don’t count your chickens ‘till they hatch.”
Indeed, Republicans will likely control the Senate come January, but let’s not lose the momentum. One need look no further than all the reputable polling ahead of the 2012 presidential election to see what happens when victory was assumed by Mitt Romney’s team.
How did that turn out?
Over in the House, the GOP is striving to achieve its “Drive to 245,” which would mean increasing the party’s 233-seat majority to a level not seen since 1946. That’s a stretch but they may get there.
While I certainly hope Republicans win a Senate majority next month, they must resolve to do more than merely slow the “rule of lawlessness” that now defines Obama’s presidential modus operandi. They must use a majority to pass popular conservative legislation – from tax reform to energy deregulation to border security – through both chambers and place it on Obama’s desk, daring him to veto it.
Of course, Obama has already committed to bypass Constitutional Rule of Law, saying, “Where Congress isn’t acting, I’ll act on my own. … I’ve got a pen … and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” In other words, when Republicans don’t give Obama what he wants, he will pull an executive order end run.
Indeed, he has already demonstrated this commitment by issuing EO’s supporting his gun control agenda, and supporting his so-called “climate change” agenda by enacting regulations for his “war on coal” and blocking the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The most egregious examples of Obama’s executive order abuses include his repeated rewrites of the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” in an effort to assist the re-election campaigns of congressional Democrats. After the midterm election, Obama will take measures to give millions of illegal immigrants a pass in order to firm up the Democrat lock on Latinos.
The fact is, if Senate Republicans do attain majority status, and the House GOP maintains its current majority, those achievements will not have been earned through “Republican Leadership” so much as handed to them by way of Barack Obama’s colossal failures in both domestic and foreign policy.
As Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, observed this week in her Wall Street Journal analysis, “In a year when Republicans are operating in such an enviable political environment, why aren’t their U.S. Senate candidates holding big and impressive leads? Why does it look close? Why are party professionals getting worried?”
What does she mean by “enviable political environment”?
Lets review the short list of failures:
Obama’s administration is now defined by his litany of lies and legacy of scandals, most notably the failure of his so-called “economic recovery” plan; his unparalleled foreign policy malfeasance; his “Fast and Furious” gun control play; his long list of ObamaCare lies; his IRS Enemies List; the dramatic resurgence of al-Qa'ida; the Benghazi security failure and subsequent cover-up to protect his 2012 re-election bid; his hollow “Red Line” threat to Syria; the “Russian Spring” in Crimea; the Middle East meltdown in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Gaza; the disintegration of Iraq; the rise of the Islamic State; the VA death panels cover-up; the immigration crisis on our southern border; the malfeasance and long-overdue resignation of Eric Holder, the most lawless attorney general in our nation’s history; and now, his downplaying of the Ebola threat, his utter unwillingness to address both Enterovirus D68, which is killing children nationwide, and the pandemic threat of jihadist Bio-Bombers.
Despite the significant advantage this should give Republicans in the upcoming election, Noonan writes, “Republicans aren’t achieving lift-off. The metaphor used most often is the wave. If Republicans can’t make, catch and ride a wave in an environment like this, they’ve gone from being the stupid party to the stupid loser party.”
Charles Krauthammer notes, “[Obama’s] agenda died on Nov. 2, 2010, when he lost the House. It won’t be any deader on Nov. 4, 2014, if he loses the Senate.”
So what happened in 2010 that stalled Obama’s agenda?
Clearly, the 2008 election of an ideological Socialist to the Office of President came with some unintended consequences for Obama and his Leftist cadres across the nation. Chief among those was the emergence of the grassroots Tea Party Movement ahead of the 2010 midterm election.
While the GOP rolled out its “new and improved” platform modeled after Newt Gingrich’s successful 1994 Contract with America, it was the Tea Party that singlehandedly repopulated the House with a substantial number of genuine conservatives, thereby restoring Republican control.
Regrettably, the “establishment Republicans” in the House virtually excluded the new conservatives from significant House leadership positions. The resulting fratricidal infighting thwarted additional gains in 2012 and enabled Obama to buy a second term as president.
Has the GOP learned any lessons?
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, on schedule, rolled out the latest version of the party’s Key Principles last week. To his credit, first among those is this: “Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.” Priebus is genuinely committed to conservative principles. Recall that he had The Patriot Post’s Essential Liberty Pocket Guide distributed to all RNC convention members in 2012, and he held one up for display during that event.
However, the first of the GOP key principles should state, “Our Constitution should be upheld as the supreme law of the land, and our leaders should abide by their oaths ’to Support and Defend‘ it.” To that end, the current Republican congressional leadership receives mixed reviews. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is committed to conservative principles, scoring better than 80% in the American Conservative Union ratings. Notably, however, Speaker of the House John Boehner did not make the 80% ACU cut.
Despite McConnell’s rating, if the GOP does luck into a Senate majority, I believe it’s time for new leadership in both chambers.
Krauthammer notes, “[R]egaining the Senate would finally give the GOP the opportunity, going into 2016, to demonstrate its capacity to govern. … [C]ontrolling both houses would allow the GOP to produce a compelling legislative agenda. … If the president signs any of it, good. If he vetoes, it will be clarifying. Who then will be the party of no? The vetoed legislation would become the framework for a 2016 GOP platform.”
He is correct, but producing a compelling legislative agenda would require outstanding leadership – which neither McConnell nor Boehner have demonstrated.
As Noonan writes, “It’s good to win, but winning without a declared governing purpose is a ticket to nowhere. … Republicans need to say what they’re for.”
The fact is, both McConnell and Boehner have failed to clearly articulate a unified governing purpose. Thus, gaining a Senate majority and retaining the House majority may be for naught if not under spirited and principled new leadership.
Winston Churchill wrote, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver.”
However, there appears to be no important point to make under the current GOP leadership, and neither McConnell nor Boehner seem to have any idea what a pile driver is.
“A leader,” said Ronald Reagan, “once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets rough.” Clearly, he was just such a leader.
Under the current GOP leadership, there has been neither a clear course of action nor the necessary determination to stick with such action.
If Republican gain control of the Senate next week, that gain will not be earned as a result of the current GOP “leadership,” but will largely be the result of Barack Obama’s colossal failures. The “old guard” is learning that the hard way. Eric Cantor, former Republican House Majority Leader, was defeated by a more conservative candidate in Virginia’s 7th congressional district primary earlier this year, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is fighting for his political survival this week against Democrat Alison Grimes.
It is long past time for young and fresh Republican leadership in both the House and Senate – and there are rising leaders who are more than capable of making their case.
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis