Government & Politics

Time for the GOP to Show Some Backbone

Republicans are out of excuses for their failure to lead.

Arnold Ahlert · Feb. 20, 2017

“Over and over again, the American people go to the ballot box, over and over again, the American people rise up and say the direction we’re going doesn’t make sense. We want change. … And yet, nothing changes in Washington.” —Senator Ted Cruz, Sept. 28, 2015

“I spent much of Wednesday talking and corresponding with Republicans in various states of anxiety about the latest revelations concerning the Trump campaign and Russia.” —Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, Feb. 15, 2017

Despite a plethora of imperfections, President Donald Trump is, ultimately, an Agent of Change — one that represents perhaps the biggest challenge in decades to our globalist-minded, sovereignty-contemptuous, elitist Ruling Class. A Ruling Class whose disconnect with the concerns of ordinary Americans has reached unbearable levels. A Ruling Class that made it clear millions of “deplorable” bitter clingers, living in vast swathes of the nation dismissed as “flyover country,” were essentially expendable, seen as a “reasonable” tradeoff for the “greater good” espoused by those who consider themselves “citizens of the world” first, and Americans second. People long used to politicians in both political parties — along with an unelected, entrenched and arrogant bureaucracy — accommodating their “superior” vision.

Yet in an election of staggering surprise, the people tossed the ultimate Monkey Wrench in the machinery of their ambitions.

Thus it is no secret the proverbial long knives are out, as the “Status Quo-ers” — in that bureaucracy, the media, a [conspiratorial(http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/15/cia-insults-trump/) and possibly criminal intelligence community, a resistant State Department, academia, Hollywood and the Democrat Party — remain determined to return America to that wretched status quo.

By any means necessary.

Which brings us to those “anxious” Republicans, whose long-familiar refrain about not being able to stop the progressive agenda is now impossible to sustain. Americans have heard it all before: “If we only had the House” we could do something. In 2010 Americans gave them the House of Representatives. Then the refrain became, “We don’t have the Senate, so we can’t stop Harry Reid.” So, in 2014 Americans obliged and gave them the Senate along with more House members.

What did Republicans do with both congressional chambers? Passed another debt-laden continuing resolution fully funding ObamaCare, Planned Parenthood and Barack Obama’s executive amnesty program. They collaborated to flip the treaty provision of the Constitution upside down, allowing the deal with Iran to proceed. They confirmed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, assuring the Justice Department would remain as hyper-partisan as it was under her predecessor Eric Holder.

And they did it all while informing their enormously frustrated base they did the best they could, but as long as Democrats controlled the Oval Office…

Now? Republicans have the opportunity to be proactive. They can frame their agenda, and get it passed, no matter how much Democrats and their media allies object.

In other words, they have the opportunity to do exactly what Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress did for the first two years of Obama’s presidency. Democrats, as Cruz put it, who were “willing to crawl over broken glass with a knife between their teeth to fight” for their principles.

Republicans? Until Obama and a Democrat majority set the standard for fiscally suicidal irresponsibility, George Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress were the nation’s foremost spendaholics. Principles? The GOP’s long-asserted commitment to limited government and fiscal responsibility gave way to “compassionate conservatism,” a cynical term used to disguise the reality they were just as committed to growing government as Democrats. Even more astounding, they expected a pat on the back from a terminally hostile media and their Democrat counterparts for their ideological surrender.

What they got instead? In 2006, Democrats gained complete control of Congress. In 2008, they added the Oval Office, and a four-month period where they had a filibuster-proof 60 Senate seats — facilitating the passage of ObamaCare without a single Republican vote. And not once while ObamaCare was being foisted on a recalcitrant public, courtesy of one lie after another, did Democrats ever wring their collective hands about the lack of bipartisanship or compromise.

In other words, anxiety has never been a part of the Democrat Party’s DNA.

“Congress is off to a slow start this year, and Republicans are starting to get nervous,” Bloomberg News reports. “The Senate is tied up with delays in confirming President Donald Trump’s cabinet, the House is spending most of its time undoing regulations from the end of the previous president’s term, and a promised swift repeal of Obamacare is stalled.”

One might think Republicans are walking on eggshells of their own making.

In fairness, the GOP did lay out its plans for repealing and replacing ObamaCare with a “patient-centered system where the patient designs their plan,” according to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Yet as The Daily Signal notes, the GOP “has yet to come together on which parts of the law would be repealed and how.”

Tax reform? From Politico: “Paul Ryan showed up to Senate Republicans' weekly lunch on Tuesday hoping to salvage a controversial pillar of his tax reform plan that would change how imports and exports are taxed. ‘Keep your powder dry,’ the House speaker pleaded. The next day, Sen. Tom Cotton took to the Senate floor to slam Ryan’s so-called border adjustment tax, saying ‘some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.’” Politico further noted this constituted “an ominous sign for a linchpin of Ryan’s tax plan — and perhaps for the prospects of tax reform happening at all.”

Politico has its own agenda of undermining Republicans, but if the report is correct, the GOP’s circular firing squad remains alive and well.

So do GOP excuses for inaction, all of which center on Democrats' and their media allies' determination to convince Americans Trump stole the election with help from the Russians. It’s an effort so unhinged The New York Times has taken to recycling debunked allegations, and an off-the-chart Glenn Greenwald is extolling leakers as people who committed “serious — and wholly justified — felonies.”

Cue Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker. “It takes away from other efforts,” he insists. “We have a job to do here, it’s important and it matters to people. There’s no question that all the activity around Russia right now is a distraction.”

Make that self-inflicted distraction, and a pathetic excuse for the failure to lead. Why? Either Establishment Republicans really are buttercups afraid to govern, or willing participants in a de facto Uni-Party government.

Only time will tell. But not four years' worth. The GOP can easily face the same kind of tsunami in the 2018 midterms Democrats endured in 2010 and 2014, save for one likely difference: There will be no subsequent resurrection for a party willing to abandon its principles again.

It’s one of two choices, GOP: backbone or betrayal. Genuine unapologetic commitment to principles, or another anxiety-driven sellout. Choose wisely.

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