Did anyone notice the humor of attendees at Monday’s inaugural lunch feasting on lobster while those who voted to keep this president in office are paying higher taxes on every cent they earn (see: Great Reasons to Hit Middle Income America With Tax Increases)? Some Obama voters are doubtless blaming their employers or the Republican Party because they know their man in the White House would never allow their taxes to go up. Can conservative lawmakers successfully battle mystical thinking and false hope with political games?
The announcement of another House GOP prank in pursuit of the impossible, sane fiscal decisions from Senate Democrats, sounded as promising as the start of Barack Obama’s second term. The courage we need from Republicans does not come from political games, empty threats, or repeated votes taken on measures that will never get past the secure conservative confines of the House.
Do we need radical Republicans, or will Tea Party conservatives do?
Harry Reid likes to charge Republicans with being dupes for the Tea Party. If only that were true. Conservative America deserves radical Republicans willing to risk the GOP’s dwindling future for the sake of chopping the big government both parties helped create down to size.
During the Reconstruction being one of the Radical Republicans meant not only taking back control of the federal legislature, it meant seizing power from your own party’s president. No such problem in 2012. Partisan betrayal is off the table. Washington is so polarized that no one will be surprised at anything the GOP threatens to do, unless anything excludes pointless invective and political games.
What happened to the brave words we heard when Republican leaders issued their Pledge to America and swept back into the House? Would radical Republican thinking finally give us promises we can believe in (see: Conservative Middle America Deserves These Republican Promises)?
Time for a new Republican reconstruction.
While Obama’s minions enjoyed their noonday repast some of us ate brown bag lunches at our desks, perhaps reflecting on the doubling of the debt we own since the president took office, or the abject refusal of our Commander in Chief to give more than lip service to spending cuts that don’t involve defense.
There will be a lot of reconstruction to do if we make it through the next four years. Republicans have an opportunity to take a chance and jump start the process. If their fear is that the GOP will be locked out of Washington forever if they don’t play ball with their irresponsible opponents, how did the promises we were handed two years ago seem plausible when John Boehner assured Republican voters:
“And you’ll find plans to return power in the House back to the hands of the people. No more flagrant disregard for the Constitution; no more kickbacks and backroom deals; no more passing massive bills that no one has had a chance to read.¹
Vote after vote to get rid of the health care law is embarrassing proof that the Obama legislative agenda is here to stay. Partisan political games can’t compete against a president and congressional Democrats intent on ignoring the Constitution, refusing to pass a budget, and finding ways to finesse massive change without so much as a single congressional vote (see: Obama Illegal Immigration Policy Scorns Our Nation of Laws).
There was strong rhetoric in these bold words from last Saturday’s weekly Republican address:
“Republicans will NOT simply provide a blank check for uncontrolled spending, irrational borrowing and constant nickel and dime tax increases. We should cut Washington’s budget, not your family’s budget.”²
Republicans will provide exactly that. Watch as the debt ceiling goes up. Watch as proposed spending cuts go down. Watch middle class family budgets be clipped by everything from Obamacare to entitlement spending. The crises on the horizon that will demand billions in public money and a commitment to big government are too numerous to keep track of. Crumbling infrastructure? Failing education? Entitlement meltdowns? Will the GOP stand in the way when the president hops back on his executive order train and makes conservative lawmakers look like useless throwbacks?
More political games? Has the GOP joined Democrats to violate our trust?
In the absence of action that stands some minimal chance of success we just heard a plan to deprive the Senate of pay in lieu of a budget. Do House Republicans believe that missing a few paychecks will force Democrats to commit to fiscal responsibility out of fear of the poor house? Granted, the idea of not paying lawmakers because they refuse to do their jobs is appealing, but part of the problem on Capitol Hill is that so many of our elected representatives live lives wholly disconnected from the realities of the middle class. Missing a check or two will have a lot less impact on Senators than the payroll tax increase is having on families in Middle America.
The president, Capitol Hill Democrats, and Americans who voted to ruin this country need a wake-up call. Republicans promised us they had the courage and commitment to make that call. Pundits will dissect the president’s opening salvo for his second term word for word. Suffice it to say that Mr. Obama was not shy about combining his thoughts on the “strength of the Constitution” and “unalienable rights”³ with plans to bring everything to a screeching halt with tax and spend fiscal policy.
When someone with power and a fetish for big government says that the “free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play,”4 those we put in office to stop this kind of federal abuse ought to pay attention. Those rules mean that big government will control us all, something Republicans need to keep in mind as they choose between extinction, capitulation, and taking a chance on a better future.