If Republicans Win, What Then?
November 1, 2010 by Bob Livingston
If actual election-day results confirm conventional wisdom and House — and maybe Senate — Democrat majorities are swept away like yesterday’s trash, Republicans will have every reason to be giddy. Constitutionalists, conservatives and Libertarians, however, should temper their enthusiasm.
That’s because Republicans have not yet shown they understand what the original Tea Parties — that is those not co-opted by selfish, big money or globalist interests — stood for, nor have they shown they appreciate the mood of the country. This misunderstanding was made manifest in the Contract with American 2010 that House Republicans released in September and are now touting as their action plan if they gain the majority.
This attractive position paper with a fancy cover, lots of photographs of the Statue of Liberty, politicians, Mt. Rushmore, horses, town hall crowds and elegant buildings and monuments, and filled with highfalutin language is simply a propaganda piece designed to appease the simpletons. Republicans understand that Senate Democrats will filibuster sound legislation and Obama will veto whatever they manage to get passed. In other words, the Contract is classic political doublespeak.
While some of the ideas it contains are good first steps — repeal Obamacare, get the government out of the mortgage business by cutting off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extending the current tax rate and requiring the Constitutional authority for each new bill to be cited — others demonstrate the progressive mentality that has infected the GOP — and all of Washington D.C. One of these is the pledge to cut spending back to 2008 levels.
Two thousand eight, you’ll recall, was the last year of “compassionate conservative” President George W. Bush’s term. With the help of six years of a Republican-controlled Congress and two years of a Democrat-controlled Congress, Bush increased government spending more than any of the six presidents that preceded him, including Lyndon Johnson, according to Veronique de Rugy of the George Mason University Mercatus Center.
“During his eight years in office, President Bush spent almost twice as much as his predecessor, President Clinton. Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent,” de Rugy writes.
So what the Republicans pledge to do involves rolling a massively over bloated, overregulated, profligate government back to a hugely over bloated, overregulated profligate government. And while the Contract talks in nebulous terms about cutting back on regulations and eliminating fraud and waste, it says nothing about eliminating unConstitutional government agencies, repealing unConstitutional laws, eliminating (or at least auditing) the Federal Reserve, requiring the President to prove his Constitutionally-required eligibility to hold office or defunding the offices of Obama’s dozens of unconstitutional czars.
Nor does it mention ending the permanent, ineffective and fabricated war on terror, except to say that it promises to pass “clean” bills to fund the troops. In essence, Republicans are promising more of the same never-ending, undeclared wars foisted on us by the last four Presidents and funded by fiat, and apparently a Republican Congress intends to continue abdicating its responsibility by allowing the military invasion of the Middle East to continue — and even plans to expand it by strengthening sanctions against Iran.
Those who predict such things anticipate a Republican gain of at least the 39 House seats they need to take the majority… and perhaps a gain of as many as 60. Some are even throwing out numbers like 70 to 100. In the Senate, the Real Clear Politics average gives Republicans 45 seats and Democrats 49, with six races too close to call. In other words, a Republican-controlled House is as safe a bet as there is in politics. But a Republican-controlled Senate is a long shot that would either require all six of toss up races to break for Republicans, or a major surprise to occur in one or more of the leans- or likely-Democrat seats.
With all the Tea Party-backed candidates invading the “hallowed” halls of Congress come January, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) — the man establishment Republicans love to hate — is going to have a lot of company and prospective new House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is going to have a lot of headaches. But at least Boehner has been on board endorsing Tea Party candidates.
Not so Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He’s as firmly entrenched an establishment Republican as there is, having been in the Senate since 1984. He endorsed Rand Paul’s Kentucky primary opponent Trey Grayson. He’s not been very receptive to the Tea Party message and, like most of the rest of the Republican establishment, sees Tea Party candidates as a threat to the status quo. It’s going to be interesting to see how he’s able to lead should the Democrat collapse become complete and Republicans win control of the Senate.
For McConnell, keeping the likes of new Republican Senators such as Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Colorado’s Ken Buck, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Utah’s Mike Lee, Alaska’s Joe Miller, Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, West Virginia’s John Raese, Washington’s Dino Rossi, Florida’s Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomy in Republican lockstep will be akin to herding cats — and probably as successful.
In other words, Tea Partiers and Constitutionalists, tomorrow is just a first step. While the election will probably derail — or at least slow — Obama’s Marxist agenda, there will still be a lot of work to be done. First, establishment Republicans must be held to their promises in the Contract. Second, establishment Republicans have to be willing to work with their newly-elected brethren by putting them into leadership positions and listening to their ideas — particularly those ideas that got them elected. Establishment Republicans must realize that if they don’t embrace the new batch of Representatives and Senators then there will be more establishment seats on the chopping block in two years.
And finally, the new batch has to stay true to the principles they espoused on the campaign trail. If they betray their voters their terms will be short indeed.
It will behoove the establishment to understand once and for all that the Tea Party is not interested in Republican Party insider politics as usual and has no interest in playing their silly political parlor games. Karl Rove and his establishment ilk can denigrate king-and queen-maker Sarah Palin and Tea Party favorites like O’Donnell and prove their own irrelevance and allow the Republican Party to die, or they can embrace Tea Party candidates and change the GOP’s paradigm.
Tea Partiers are fed up with politics as usual and are clamoring for a return to the Founding principles of small government, free markets, sound money and secure borders. The elected class ignores these issues at its peril.