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2010 Election &Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 28 Sep 2010 08:36 pm

November 3: Will the GOP Respect Us in the Morning?

“’For the Conservative, the challenge is daunting and the road will be long and hard,’ Levin sums up. ‘But it took the Statist nearly eighty years to get here, and it will take the Conservative at least as long to change the nation’s direction. Still, there is no time to waste. The Conservative must act now.’” (Underscoring Forum’s.)Mark Levin

“GOP to Tea Party — Your Votes, Not Your Ideas”David Frum via Hogan.

Addressed to likely voters in the November 2 election, the House GOP Pledge to America blends a mix of an immediate agenda and a longer-term vision.

But Andy McCarthy objects (“Empty Promises”) to this Pledge to America approach —

“But none of the pledge’s agenda items is actually going to be enacted. Even if we are fortunate enough to see Republicans elected in numbers large enough to take one or both chambers, pledge initiatives will be bottled up by congressional Democrats or vetoed by President Obama. The pledge should not be about success in the here and now. It should be about a vision for the future. It should tee up 2012 and the difference between the America the president sees and the America Republicans see.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

RedState’s Hogan weighs in (“The Pledge to Nowhere”) on the Pledge to America. Here are two of his suggestions we believe bear careful consideration:

“How about picking 100 burdensome regulations to end within the first 100 days rather than some nebulous, difficult-to-carry-out promise to stop future regulation? Congress has given the Executive branch the power to carry out most regulations – TAKE IT AWAY, and be specific.” . . . . “A Plan to Keep Our Nation Secure [Abroad] and at Home. But where is any mention of reviving our dwindling defense spending? I am not talking about war spending, I am talking about the future of our military. We were spending almost 1/3 of our GDP on defense at the end of World War II. Today, we still spend less than 5%. We are weakening our military in the long run. FIX IT. I also notice there is no mention of immigration – only the border. Most of the other stuff is fine — but the reality is that promises are no good when it comes to these issues. Americans want to see action – a strong military, a secure border (actually secure – not “operational control,” whatever that means) and dead terrorists – not terrorists in our back yard.” 

The Long March to Smaller Government

Will Representatives John Boehner and Eric Cantor, the presumptive GOP leadership team should Republicans take back the House, seriously begin the long march to rein in the size and scope of the Federal government?  Or will they be just “in office, but not in power,” to quote Mark Steyn?

What we are talking about in the longer term is reining in the administrative state and getting control of the regulatory budget.

There is, however, one possibly winnable 2011 fight — principally withholding money needed to implement Obamacare  — in any GOP-led House.

Representative Steve King reportedly declared this month —

“Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the most outspoken conservatives in the House, said last week that he wants Boehner and other House leaders to sign a ‘blood oath’ that they will include a repeal of health care reform in every appropriations bill next year, even if President Barack Obama vetoes the bills and a government shutdown occurs.”

Will a Confrontation with the White House on Obamacare
Have a Better Outcome than Gingrich’s 1995-96 Face Off?

Michael Barone yesterday spelled out some differences in his Townhall post “GOP Battle Cry: Repeal Obamacare, Cut Spending” —

“And despite the widespread consensus that Gingrich’s Republicans lost the 1995-96 budget fight with Bill Clinton, they went on to win more popular votes and more House seats than Democrats in the next five House elections.” . . . . “As for Obamacare, a few months ago Republican leaders were reluctant to call for repeal. They may have feared that Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton were right when they predicted the legislation would become more popular when passed. Or they may have been wary of sounding extreme. But now they’re squarely for repeal. It turns out to be a stand most Republican primary voters demand and most general election voters support.” . . . .  “Can Republicans really repeal Obamacare and roll back spending to 2008 levels? Probably not. But by taking clear stands, they raise their chances of getting part way there by 2012. And maybe farther later. ” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Obviously the GOP taking the House back is the first priority or we won’t be able to have any meaningful discussion of getting the GOP leadership on the right track because there won’t be any Republicans in a leadership role.

But personnel is policy.  Messrs. McCarthy and Hogan and Erick Erickson are right to have concerns about the direction of the current House GOP leadership.  We wrote on June 13, 2009

“And what about a possible electoral turn-around in 2010? Consider this scenario.  An outraged electorate hands control of the House of Representatives back to the Republicans in November 2010.  How well do you think the current House leadership will handle that possibly-last-chance-for-America opportunity?  Recall that Republican Leader John Boehner and Republican Whip Eric Cantor both voted for the bailout twice last fall — as well as supported the former president’s big-government expansion consistently.  Both voted for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare Prescription Drug Entitlement, against free political speech in a 2006 Republican vote which George Will called ‘traducing the Constitution and disgracing conservatism.’ As we said, both voted twice for the TARP bill last fall although one wouldn’t know it from their current ‘free enterprise’ rhetoric. At least Mr. Boehner did not join Mr. Cantor in voting this year [2009] for a punitive 90-percent tax.” 

Presumably Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor have come to better minds since these questionable votes we listed.  Nonetheless vigilance is indicated:  Mark Krikorian reports that “Boehner personally vetoed a proposal to include an E-Verify mandate.” Perhaps Mr. Boehner has forgotten the enormous fiscal costs of low-education-level immigrants.

CNN Politics discloses that- –

“Several GOP sources had told CNN there were no plans to say much at all about social issues, since the electorate is so heavily focused on jobs and spending. GOP leaders settled on a line that states: ‘We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.’ This language was a late addition, according to a GOP source, after Rep Mike Pence argued that social issues should be included in this document representing the House GOP agenda.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

In our judgment, Andy McCarthy is right on point in summing up our current situation:

“These are not ordinary times. The nation is in the grip of post-sovereign leftists who reject the premise that the country is essentially good — that’s why, they say, it needs ‘fundamental change.’ They are locking in their redistributionist vision by borrowing the terrifying trillions they spend. They are not worried about governing against the opposition of a lopsided majority of Americans. Unpopular is one thing; transformational is something else.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

This is why the Tea Partiers and the grass-roots conservatives will face one of their biggest tasks should a GOP majority take over in the House next January.  It is not just that the House GOP Leadership may not eagerly take a longer view to downsizing government.  It is that they will need the prodding (and support) of the Tea Partiers to face the fact that the Obama Administration reflects a revolutionary movement and cannot be expected to respond predictably to normal popular pressures.  In short, the old politics of a “Denny Hastert” House in which the current GOP leadership labored is largely irrelevant to both conservative demands today, and to coping with revolutionary challenges.

To be effective on the national and state levels, moreover, Maryland and Virginia Tea Partiers will have to identify and strengthen those local organizations that are truly independent of the GOP Establishment. As Virginia Tea Partiers are learning, identifying such independent Tea Parties is not always a slam dunk.








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