By Wm. P. Fitzhenry
Both sides of Congress are fractured by competing factions, and as a result have only one singular notable achievement this year. Admittedly, the Justice Gorsuch vote was a victory, but it was months ago, and its sell-by date has long passed.
There are many who want to place the primary blame for this stunning failure on the President, mentioning his ill-advised tweets, his inexperience, his lack of involvement in legislation, and his polls numbers. Then there are some who do believe Congress has leadership issues, but can’t resist casting some blame on the President and the White House in general.
To be sure, any intellectually honest person will admit some of the President’s tweets have had the capacity to confuse, irritate, embarrass, and yes anger. The White House hasn’t handled every legislative interaction competently either. It has been evident they are learning on the job, just as every new White House has had to do. The President has also unwisely picked fights at times, and has demeaned potential allies. Attracting with honey doesn’t seem to be an option, however vinegar seems to be in abundant supply.
In a well functioning government where one party has control of the Executive Branch as well as Congress, in theory legislation shouldn’t be a heavy lift. The President as leader of the party, sets the agenda for what he wants to see accomplished. He is responsible for selling that agenda to the American pubic as well. Congress’s responsibility is to take that agenda and turn it into cogent passable legislation.
For a myriad of reasons, this isn’t happening, Congress can’t seem to get anything done at all. Rather they appear to relish crisis reactive mode, content to avoid difficult votes at all cost.
By now, it is apparent GOP leadership doesn’t respect the President, don’t want him in the Oval Office, and resent his “drain the swamp” populist movement. As a result, they have vacillated, obfuscated and obstructed in every way possible. It is even possible, these GOP leaders would be perfectly happy being the 2020 majority party with a Democrat in the White House. Some still wish Hillary had won.
GOP leadership in the Senate and House aren’t true conservatives. They tend to be globalist, federal statist, open borders, and social moderates, wedded inexorably to big business. They don’t seem to be capable of bringing strong conservative legislation to the floor, and absolutely are incompetent when it comes to whipping votes.
As proof, for seven years the Republican Party in virtually every district has been screaming Obamacare Repeal. For seven years, the Republican Party has piously promised that repeal. Indeed, the House passed numerous repeal bills when Obama was in office, but now we know that was solely because they could rest easy knowing he would veto them.
The GOP campaign promise was; if elected into both the White House and majority, they would not only repeal Obamacare, but also pass strong immigration and border control legislation , and bring about trade and tax reform as well. They are 0-4 currently.
Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and their lieutenants do not care about these issues, nor do they want these types of tough votes forced upon them. You can’t come to any other conclusion once you realize John McCain R-AZ still has his chairmanships, or see Susan Collins in plum committee appointments. On the Obamacare Skinny Repeal vote, Majority Leader McConnell allowed outright betrayal of three members of his party with no repercussions whatsoever. The only conclusion you can come to, is his dedication to Obamacare repeal was tepid at best. He didn’t seem to care one way or the other.
Paul Ryan was very vociferous opposing Obama’s 2012 DACA bill, loudly proclaiming it to be unconstitutional. However; once President Trump occupied the Oval Office, he publicly asked the President to continue the unconstitutional activity on a month by month basis indefinitely while Congress contemplated passing a DACA bill. His reasoning? Foreign influx of workers helps to keep American wages depressed.
These facts appear to be painfully obvious by now:
- GOP leadership doesn’t have a conservative small government-states rights vision. Rather, akin to the Democrats, they have a federal government-statist belief, simply believing their policies are better than those of the Democrats.
- GOP leadership are not committed deficit hawks. National debt over $20 trillion doesn’t bother them in the least. Continued borrowing is of no bother to them whatsoever.
- GOP leadership don’t have a nationalist populist view. By and large they are globalist, and as a result millions upon millions of American dollars are spent overseas instead of on decrepit urban schools, national infrastructure, southern border control or tax relief.
- GOP leadership is not committed to the conservative social agenda. If they were, those Republicans who continue to advocate for Planned Parenthood funding would have been silenced long ago. They are content with a liberal Trans policy as long as they don’t have to take a vote on it. They have no commitment to religious freedom, and have never taken a tough vote protecting religious institutions.
- GOP leadership are either squish on border control or are 100% Open Borders advocates. If they weren’t, the border would have been secured by now, E-Verify would have been implemented, and big business wouldn’t have free reign to employ illegal aliens. They are 100% aligned with Wall Street and business owners, and have consistently lied about border control and immigration during each and every one of their campaigns.
- GOP leadership plainly do not want the swamp drained. They like status quo in our nation’s capital. They do not want Rex Tillerson to reform the State Department. If they did, they wouldn’t oppose his reforms, and insist he spend all of his budget when he maintains he doesn’t need it. It is a safe bet Betsy DeVos makes them squirm daily, and DHS/ICE has probably become an anathema and embarrassment to them. There isn’t enough space to mention the EPA, Energy, or HUD.
- GOP leadership is amenable to NeoCon nation-building and war as long as they get a piece of it. If this weren’t so, they would have cut funding to Afghanistan long ago. Instead, President Trump inherited a global mess with potential conflict in far too many places.
- GOP leadership is not unhappy with the UN. They’ve paid the UN outrageous amounts year in and year out and have allowed them to embarrass us at every turn. Likewise, they were cowards with Obama and the Iran deal. They squawked loudly but in the end, did zilch.
- GOP leadership has no problems with the MSM. They are quite content to go on MSNBC and CNN and gripe about the President or conservatives, but for the most part avoid Fox like the plague. They ache to receive the blessings and laudatory applause given to liberals by the MSM and seem unwilling to perform any difficult act if it would result in angering liberal media.
What the GOP leadership is committed to, is being re-elected. That and bringing in bucket loads of campaign cash. Toward that end, they resist any vote which will potentially endanger their standing in DC.
These squish Republican leaders have no risk of losing their offices. Their longevity inoculates them against defeat. Defeating them via the primary election route is a losing proposition.
The only answer is to put the onus on the average conservative House and Senate member. These members are not always so secure, and might be more than happy to see new leadership if they knew the Republican voting public stood ready to support them. Our focus and support should be with those who could bring about leadership change, and those who would support such change.
Rather than demanding campaign promises which will surely be broken, the Republican voter might be wise to find candidates with the spine to bring about change in Congress. That appears to be the only answer to this hot incompetent mess.
President Trump can endeavor to drain the swamp in DC, but it is on us to drain the People’s House.