02.04.2021 0

Former Rep. Dave Brat: We must fight back!

Congressman who ousted Eric Cantor urges conservatives to stay engaged.

By Catherine Mortensen

In a recent column in American Greatness, professor emeritus and thought leader Angelo Codevilla  makes the bold proposal that “in order to preserve republican freedoms… [w]e can start by boycotting an institution that undeniably, has become ruinously partisan: the House of Representatives.”

The piece generated hundreds of comments on the site, many of them supportive.

One reader, Tony_Petroski, said, “[Y]ou have to start somewhere. You need some strategy beyond civil war. I think the Professor’s suggestion is a good one and not mere satire.” Reader Gefilte Fisherman added, “Angelo Codevilla has a Great Idea.” A reader named Patriot wrote, “I like this idea as well. At every opportunity, we need to go on the offense and talk about the lawlessness and how their total corruption is anti-constitutional and costs taxpayers billions.”

Still others thought it was unrealistic to expect the GOP to show any “bold” leadership, as Watsyxz noted, “Wishful thinking. Our elected Republicans have already surrendered to the will of the Democrats. Both Ds and Rs don’t give a wit about the voters who put them in office. They care only about getting re-elected, staying in good favor with the Media, and care about socializing with each other, the elite members of The Ruling Class.”

Former Virginia Congressman Dave Brat, who served two terms in the House of Representatives after defeating former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said it would be a bad idea for Republicans to disengage from the process. He said the most important thing Republicans can do now is strongly push back on “the terrible stuff going on in our country right now.”

“We’re going to have to fight back,” Brat said. “The awful comments that Pelosi has made about Members on the Republican side of the aisle are just horrific. We have a platform, and the American people want to hear from us.”

Brat said he understands the temptation to “cut the cord” from institutional power right now, but he said that is the last thing we should do. “Instead we need to stand up to this radical leftist push for power.” He said too often conservatives makes rational policy arguments that just fade away in time, when what we really need to be doing is “taking real estate back in our major institutions, such as the CIA, the FBI, and the State Department, basically the Deep State.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appears to recognize that many Republicans are disengaging from politics and started a series on his blog, The Starting Line, that features stories of average, hard-working Americans who are suffering under Biden’s job-crushing executive orders.

Earlier this week, McCarthy posted, “We received some positive feedback on yesterday’s post about Laurie Cox and her hotel in Midland, South Dakota. This got us thinking about communications. The more time spent focusing on what’s happening on Twitter, the less in touch we are with what our constituents are thinking about or what their lived experiences are. Those stories are far more interesting. We will continue to share them.”

While efforts such as those are a start, they are far from the robust response Brat thinks is needed.

“Even the minority party in Congress has tremendous power in terms of reaching out to the media and educating the American people on all the things that the people want to hear right now and they’re just not hearing it,” Brat explained. “They’re not hearing anybody step up to the plate and defend the Main Street folks.”

Brat added that Republicans need to focus less on policy and more on big picture cultural issues dividing the country. “The reason people are so upset on a gut level is because they know the fundamental American values are being tipped upside down right now.”

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning agrees that Republicans need to stand and fight in Congress, and not disengage. “While it is tempting to pack up our bats and balls and go home, people get elected to Congress to be in the game and to fight like crazy for the interest of their constituents and America. Disengagement in surrender.”

Brat said he misses the friends he made in Congress, but not the vile personal attacks, which he noted have gotten worse since Biden’s Inauguration. “Since they don’t have Trump to vilify anymore, they are going to vilify anyone who supported him. And our leadership is not standing up to these attacks because they’re scared and hiding under their desks.”

Brat, who is now dean of the business school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, recommends reading the introduction to the 1987 classic “Closing of the American Mind” by Allan Bloom. The book anticipates America’s cultural collapse stemming from “moral relativism.” Brat said there is much we can learn today from Bloom. “One of his major themes is the revaluing of all values, and that leads to George Orwell and all that we’re seeing right now.”

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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