The political principles you were taught in school don’t matter anymore. Democrats murdered them. Republicans helped.
Limited government is dead. The rule of law has been shredded for the sake of quashing immigration, voter ID, marriage, labor, and other laws. Popular sovereignty means nothing (see: Does Our Take on Popular Sovereignty Defile American Democracy?). Did we the governed consent to what is happening in Washington? That one goes, too.
Barack Obama has made an issue of threatening to ignore the separation of powers so he can steamroll over Congress. He has done it before and we let him get away with it. He will do it again, so we might as well toss that hackneyed old protection on the trash heap with the others.
Why don’t political principles matter?
There are American political principles and there are partisan political principles. America’s political principles are different from what our parties are selling, though the ideological positions they have staked their claims to are also vanishing. Members of both factions should hang their heads in shame, Democrats for stomping the Founders’ intentions into the dirt and Republicans for standing in opposition and then backing down.
When your job is politics it is easier to hold fast when nothing is at stake. This is an election year. There are few victories to celebrate and little on the legislative frontier to look forward to. No one is sticking to principles except the president. He has run his last race. Everyone else seems ready to change positions at the drop of a hat as they prepare to face constituents who should be furious regardless of which party they support.
Boehner stunned us after his anti-amnesty comeback when he gave up on the debt ceiling without so much as a squeak. Sure, he had his reasons. So did Mitch McConnell. That’s not what conservative America sees. It’s not what Democrats see, either.
We don’t know where Republicans stand on immigration (see: Citizenship: the Greatest Immigration Fraud of All). They likely don’t know, either. Not knowing where the party stands is an old problem that keeps getting worse. Meanwhile, spending cuts have been set aside. Debt can wait. Health care is a problem for Democrats to fix. Voting rights mean that anyone who can breathe can vote. Is a conservative political agenda out of reach?
Democrats talk loud and capitulate.
Democrats are still backing off on Obamacare mandates. Implementing the bill has been such a disaster that all they have left to boast are health insurance success stories that sound phony and made up. Even throwing down the gauntlet and punishing employers for not providing health insurance has been postponed. What does that say about the party’s political principles?
We still hear talk of amnesty legislation on the Hill. Unless the president can pull off another executive fait accompli like DACA, talk is all we have to worry about despite Boehner’s immigration waffling and Schumer’s pass it now and wait offer. The Schumer suggestion would be a happy resolution for a party that would prefer to take credit now and explain away the problems later. Picture illegal immigrants signing up for amnesty like Americans tried to sign up for health insurance. Do you think false identities and imaginary backgrounds will make the process run smoother?
Gun laws, gay marriage, and the minimum wage have been left to the states. Holder’s federal protection for same-sex marriage and Obama’s federal contractor order are parlor tricks, not liberal progress. The contractor hike doesn’t even begin until next year. That doesn’t mean Democrats won’t run on it now. Gun laws? We won’t hear much until party members need to deflect criticism after another tragedy. Same sex marriage? With everything else going on, anyone in Washington who still cares needs to get out and see what’s really happening in the world.
What does that leave us with? What do our parties believe in? What political principles and policies will they stick with this year? None, apparently.