The Dawn Patrol Richard Falknor on 01 Apr 2013 08:24 am
“In weaving their story that Obama alone is the catalyst of our crisis, the Republican establishment counts on the constitutional illiteracy of the electorate. The inescapable fact, however, is that all taxing and spending bills enacted by the federal government must originate in the House. The GOP’s all purpose abdication mantra, ‘We’re only one-half of one-third of the government,’ would be laughable if our straits were not so dire. When was the last time you heard the left-leaning bloc of Supreme Court justices say, ‘We can’t impose our policy preferences on the country. After all, we’re only one-half of one-third of the government’? When was the last time President Obama restrained himself from issuing executive orders conferring, say, privileges on illegal aliens, by explaining that he is only is only one-third of the government (a third, mind you, with zero constitutional authority to confer anything).” – Andrew McCarthy (Highlighting Forum’s)
Conservatives nationally don’t have much time to begin a serious effort to turn the House GOP leadership around.
For the House of Representatives is in recess only until early next week when the GOP leadership will return to push their agenda.
(Virginia has eight GOP House members including the GOP majority leader. Maryland has one; nonetheless, some Marylanders have national professional networks that have already touched GOP members in many states on matters such as defunding Obamacare.)
But first, let’s review the strategic situation.
- The House has the central role in controlling the public purse which is the way the founders designed our government — based based on centuries of struggle by the House of Commons to gain fiscal ascendancy. Again, as Andrew McCarthy points out–
“In constitutional law, the pertinent issue is never what percentage of total power is allocated to a branch. The question is: Which branch is given supremacy over the relevant subject matter. On the subject matter of taxing and spending – including the task of setting the parameters of the government’s authority to borrow and spend – Congress is supreme and the House has pride of place.”
- The current House GOP leadership is, and has been, conflict averse (to put it charitably) in dealing with the Obama administration. They have made it clear since the Tea Party election of November 2010 that they don’t wish to “shut the government down,” whatever that self-serving slogan means in practice. What is worse, many House conservatives who were outspoken just last year are inexplicably silent.
- It is clear that the House GOP leadership is seriously contemplating bringing to the floor gun-control and immigration (amnesty) bills where, with a small core of GOP leadership loyalists, and nearly all Democrats, these measures may well pass.
- The House GOP leadership has not seriously challenged this administration’s usurpation of constitutional powers. This is clearly seen in the administration’s ignoring the immigration laws without consequence.
- The House GOP leadership apparently only knows (and certainly sees) as their highest national role, “deal making.” Consequently they cannot articulate an alternative national narrative to counter that of the president. They were hoping for the election of a GOP (big-government) Caesar to replace the revolutionary Caesar now in office. Presidential Caesarism seems to be what they are comfortable with — relieving them of the pain and hard work of proposing alternative or improved paths no matter who is chief executive.
- The House GOP leadership is not planning to defund Obamacare and prosperity-killing EPA regulations. They may well try to pass amnesty and gun-control legislation. But what chance will there be to roll back this growth of Leviathan if conservatives deferentially wait until 2015 — presuming the election of yet another Republican-majority House — or until 2017, when a newly elected Republican president may take office who may (or may not) try to uproot these enormities?
What must be done?
The first step is to bring home — promptly and effectively — to House GOP members that they should be as responsive to their conservative base as they are to their leadership and to the campaign contributions to which the leadership gives them access if these members do as they are instructed.
That GOP leadership still believes “the base has nowhere else to go,” and tries to comfort rank-and-file GOP members with that hoary maxim.
Conservatives must quickly find ways to disabuse them of that notion.
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