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10.01.2008 0

Republicans Will Get the Change They Deserve

  • On: 10/09/2008 13:13:47
  • In: Republican in Name Only (RINO)
  • “I want [the Republican members] to understand, it’s a presidential election year, [McCain is] our nominee. He has his own Republican brand, and part of my goal, I’ve told them, is to work with the McCain campaign and our folks so that our agendas are identical, our themes are the same.” – House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), “Minority Leader in a Storm”, Wall Street Journal, May 24th, 2008.

    John Boehner should be careful what he wishes for. Taken in its spirit, the above quote indicates that the House Republican Conference will be moving in Senator John McCain’s direction on policy issues this election year. That means cap-and-trade. That means comprehensive immigration reform. That means campaign finance reform. In short, that means back-room deals with left-wing cronies.

    To be fair, it is possible that Mr. Boehner meant to sit down with Mr. McCain and talk some sense into him about the nature of the Republican Party and its conservative base. That Republicans are not energized headed into this election season. That one major reason for this is that its standard bearer this year, and its Congressional leadership, appears all-too-willing to accommodate the Democrats on a range of issues. That the party appears to be complicit by looking the other way when members of its own caucus stray away from the party line. That, unless drastic action is taken by its leadership to return the party to its original conservative roots, the GOP is set to be delivered an historic, catastrophic defeat in November.

    Mr. Boehner was spot on in his diagnosis of what ails the GOP. In his interview with the Journal, when asked about how to “win” back the majority in Congress, he responded, “Earn. Earn back the majority…. We have to show the American people that we learned our lesson from the ’06 election. That we hear what they are saying.”

    But it does not appear that he necessarily meant for a complete turnabout by the party, despite the best advice from leaders like Newt Gingrich, popular conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, or publications such as ALG News. Mr. Boehner talked about great ideas like bringing earmarks under control, balancing the budget, and entitlement reform. But in the same breath he mentioned “the really tough job of a health-care system that insures all Americans…”

    Surely, as a leader in Congress, there is something of a balancing act required. But does that really mean making unreachable promises like insuring all Americans with health coverage? He has to know that such proposals are not at all practical, because they simply are not affordable. Just because the Democrats are promising pie-in-the-sky universal health care does not mean the GOP needs to “stick in their thumb and pull out a plumb” that “insures all Americans”.

    Here’s an idea: When all else fails, tell the truth. Actually, do that first. Then, at least if the party does go down to defeat in November, they will have done so with honor and dignity, instead of with the supine posture they have taken for the past 12 years.

    Tell the American people the truth about health care: Big Government cannot afford to cover everyone. Or entitlements: Big Government will not be able to keep the promises it has made and major reform is needed. Or energy: America is a deepening energy crisis where rapidly growing costs threaten to undermine economic growth and put regular folks out of work. Government can act in these areas, but by removing restrictions and giving people more choices, not less.

    By moving too far in Senator McCain’s direction, especially on issues like cap-and-trade, the party will certainly disenchant its conservative, activist base that has been there for the party for decades and has been its primary source of power. The GOP needs to bite the bullet, regardless of where Mr. McCain is on the issues. It needs to list where they stand in contrast to the Democrats. And, it needs to stick by those principles.

    The Journal article describes Mr. Boehner’s new action-plan for this year’s Congressional campaign, “Change You Deserve.” But in truth, if Republicans do not get their acts together, they will be the ones who get the change they deserve: Near-permanent minority status.

    Republicans should follow the example of Martin Luther, who once stated, “[I]t is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other.”

    In other words, the GOP should now stand up for the principles its base believes in. Having failed to lead, they now need to follow – whether Mr. McCain reluctantly tags along or not.

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