Dust off your pith helmet and read some Kipling, we're hunting RINOs!
As has been shared, I have a rather different threshold for RINOism than most of my Tea Party peers. The attacks on leadership seem tautologically incorrect. If the people elected by the people your party elected do not in any way represent "your party," then you have some other things going on.
It's fine -- commendable -- to be disappointed in leadership. I'm fine with "those buffoons don't know their asses from their elbows!" or "My grandma could Whip a vote better than those losers and she's blind and deaf!" One needn't worship them, but suggesting that the Speaker of the House and previous VP Nominee is not a Republican seems a bridge too far.
The WSJ Ed Page is somewhat establishment, but they have kept the economic, prosperitarian lamp lit in the GOP for some time. Today, they suggest that a Trump Presidency would elevate the House GOP to a position of thought leadership. And that that might not be so bad.
Donald Trump is running for President by stressing opposition to trade and immigration. That limited-we'd say crabbed--agenda means that if the presumptive GOP nominee does by some chance win in November, the proposals to watch are coming out of the Republican House majority. Mr. Trump will need their ideas to have any hope of governing.
The good news is that this other GOP agenda is the most pro-growth in years. Speaker Paul Ryan's House colleagues have rolled out proposals to reform health care and welfare, make the financial system more resilient, and revive Congressional authority against the administrative state. The overriding goal is to gain an electoral mandate to implement an agenda in 2017 to increase economic growth and lift wages from their Obama-era trough.
These ideas deserve more attention than they've received[...]
Indeed. To be fair, most of the article's props redound to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), but the house leadership as a group deserves better philosophical marks than it gets.
I'm a huge fan of Sen. Jeff Flake (HOSS - AZ). He has attracted a lot of "RINO" calls for has nontroglodytism on immigration, but I appreciate him as a Fiscal Hawk™ and GOP Happy Warrior™
His reward today will be a vicious rant.Haw fair is that?
But I proport that the watchdog spending lists that he took over from Senator Coburn (HOSS - OK) are poorly placed. Here's his latest and it is accompanied by an admittedly clever video:
My first question is how much Federal largesse was directed at producing that video? But, fuhggedahboutit, it was a rounding error. Yet, aren't most items in the Wastebook as well?
$17,500 to have people wear a fat suit for "weight sensitivity training"
$853,000 to teach minors the art of making wine
$707,000 for researchers to create a fight club for shrimp
$780,000 to study college students and pizza addiction
$276,000 to discover how unattractive people snag a more attractive date
Ha ha. As I mentioned in Sunday's Review Corner, R & D would not be federally funded in Libertarian Utopia™, but is this what's ruining the Republic? Is this jailing innocent people and creating market distortions? Is this shutting down businesses? (Yes, at the margin it's raising taxes, but get out your scientific notation calculator to see it as a percentage.)
The same people (no, not around ThreeSources -- y'all are crazy!) will likely cheer for billions for Cancer Research. Here is where I get prickly. Are we complaining -- and Flake is -- that government is choosing projects badly? We should be complaining that government is doing too much. That it is costing jobs. That it is jailing innocent citizens, That it is shutting down businesses.
The Wastebook and video are a page out of the old, pre-Tea Party GOP which says big government is fine if it does good, right, wholesome, holy and true things. If you believe that, then by all means, argue about Shrimp Fight Club (are you supposed to talk about Shrimp Fight Club?). But if you believe government is off the rails and ruining our liberties and our economy, then this is unserious and unproductive.
He steps up again to attack yet-another backroom deal between Reid, McConnel, Boehner and .. well, who effing cares?
Once again, a massive deal, crafted in secret, unveiled at the 11th hour, is being rushed through Congress under threat of panic. Once again, we have waited until an artificial deadline to force through that which our voters oppose.
Just what Mulvaney claims the HFC has been railing against for years...
This deal shatters [sequester] commitment by spending $80 billion more than we promised over the next 2 years. The deal also uses a common gimmick where alleged savings in an entitlement program are used to boost unrelated spending in the federal bureaucracy.
[Update: comments are rampant - what I'm trying to ferret out is the widely published "only $80B increase" versus what Bret Stephens noted as "already expected increase of $200B" for 2016. Expected in which scenario? With the sequester's restrictions in place (aka, no deal), were these increases still 'expected' or is that the ugly-sauce that needs to be hidden, and if so, why didn't Sessions do so succinctly? By all the gods ever declared or suspected of being sacred, CLEAR THE SMOKE AND BREAK THE MIRRORS ]
Many quotes and more details from Politico
Majority Whip John Cornyn (squish, TX) "I don’t think you’ll hear anybody popping any champagne corks"
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.): "We're really tired of the top-down, micromanagement where you have just a few people, or in this case just the speaker and his team, determining the outcome"
Tim Scott (rising star, SC) "It’s just hard to justify that we’re not figuring out how to clamp down on spending"
Paul Ryan (earning new stripes - WI) "I think this process stinks."
Oh, I'm sorry; I forgot to include the good news, that increased funding will be paid for by selling oil from the SPR (while oil is near $40; brilliant! I'll bet we refill when it hits $100), John McCain "can work with it" and the increased spending will be offset by spending reductions in ... wait for it... 2025!
A PowerLine article has more, including the nearly unnecessary closing quote from Sessions:
Based on what I know now, it appears the president got whatever he wanted.
I've been watching very carefully the news surrounding the 40-member House Freedom Caucus (HFC). Knocking a sitting speaker out is certainly a dramatic move that speaks of a certain power, clearly orchestrated by HFC members, and they one-upped themselves by helping knock off Boehner's best-chosen replacement.
I'm fully aware (and thereby will provide TS'ers with the information necessary to edify themselves) that the HFC certainly strikes a very Buckely-esque pose with its famous "STOP!" motif. But there was something fundamental going on in the people's house that cuts to a deeper theme.
1. HFC's pimples
I was very moved by Tom McClintock's letter describing how HFC was apparently cutting the GOP's nose to spite... an unclear someone's face. Today on the Hugh Hewitt show, John Campell (reasonable and retired -CA) related how the GOP's vision - allowing the Em-Im Bank to persevere but with drastic and far-reaching changes to its structure - was blocked by the HFC members, so the establishment GOP cooperated with Dem's to get an utterly un-reformed bank back on the slate. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good in a way Reagan would surely have shunned.
I was also rather unnerved during the Benghazi committee's session with HRC by Jim Jordan's (Head of HFC - OH, and laudably willing to go to the matt on the now-fading IRS scandal) pugilistically pontificating and postulating at an un-responsive former Secretary of State.
2. My point.
I don't think the HFC ousted the speaker so they could slam shut the door on immigration, nor to put the gavel in Duncan Hunter's (smart, principled if dull - CA) hand. As relayed very well by Nick "Mick" Mulvaney on the Hugh Hewitt show on Oct. 1st and 14th (and by others at other times), the HFC was really railing against the top-down power structure that was foisted on the House by Speaker Pelosi, and seemingly happily inherited by John (headed for the showers - OH) Boehner.
3. What does the HFC really want?
mostly - to use an interesting phrase that meant a lot to both Campbell and Mulvaney a return to regular order. As near as a direct quote as I could get (the wily Hewitt jealously protects his podcasts) also notes
We always thought the conservatives were underrepresented, for example, on committees. We’ve been retaliated against [by] sitting members [who] have raised money in primaries against conservatives. That kind of stuff has got to change. That was part of that poisonous atmosphere that Boehner allowed to sort of fester
And lastly, how "Members must have the ability to bring amendments into committee and on the floor" to which I said huh? what the _____ has been happening up there?
Certainly there's been some good with the Tea Party (any enemy of Boehner...) inspired members helping the new congress classes of 2010 and 2012 greatly stymie the latter parts of Obama's agenda: (1) sequester, (2) immigration "reform" which appeared to be glorified amnesty with very little fundamental reform (tho' the last being stopped was just as much due to a massive grassroots primal scream).
But now, the "STOP!" movement is losing steam to the inevitable and understandable impulse to legislate, make deals and DO things (criminal sentencing reform, budget "deals"). Here is the deeper theme, which possibly played out in small part during our discussion on immigration last week, whereby I poorly expressed the belief we are poised at a delicate, if not quite desperate point in our nation's history. A constitutional crisis, even.
I agree with Mirengoff (Get off my lawn! - PL) where
the left is bent on radically transforming American values, institutions, and ways of living, and will use almost any tactic, regardless of its legality, to accomplish the transformation.
Certainly Boehner and likely Paul Ryan (good speaker - WI) are of the "other" mindset in viewing:
the current moment as a normal clash of opposing parties and opinions — serious, but not exceptional.
Thus we can explain the difference between my "It's a Crisis!" approach to today's immigration scenario:
- crucial that immigration and spending need to be fully and firmly brought back under control.
vs. JK's which is more in line with the "others"
- the nation of historically recordable immigration should press heartily on
to quote Mirengoff:
Ryan probably yearns to strike a grand budget deal with the Democrats. For him, such work is far more fulfilling that saying “no” to Democrats.
Understandable, as the instinct of officials elected with other ideas than filling their pockets is up the instinct to legislate and to deal.
4. Bad press can kill an otherwise mighty offensive
HFC members should well note this instinct, and all the bad press that is likely coming their way and find a way to work circumstances that require dealing with the Dems (and "other" GOP types) is necessary as a tactical matter. In these cases, the bargains should be minimal, not sweeping or far reaching.
GOP voters seem to be thinking “outside the box.” Another way of looking at it, though, is that they perceive our politics as having moved into a new box in the Age of Obama.
Who was aware there is a house LIBERTY CAUCUS? I wasn't.
Were TS'ers aware of the “Pledge to America” – saying in part In a self governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching* judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values.
* - [I argue massively overreaching in NFIB v. Sebelius yet underreaching, in King v. Burwell]
Jim Geraghty shares my concern that the endgame was not really in place before grassroots started chopping heads. He links to Allahpundit:
Which brings us to an important question that's being overlooked in the chaos of Boehner's resignation: Why do House conservatives need extra time to organize? Why don't they already have their own candidate lined up? Rumors that Boehner might resign or be ousted have been circulating for at least 18 months now. Boehner himself acknowledged last week that he was prepared to quit last year before Cantor was upset in his primary. The threat from Mark Meadows and his supporters to depose Boehner this fall if he caved on defunding Planned Parenthood and the debt ceiling has been percolating for months. And yet, somehow, House conservatives seem to have been caught off-guard. Jeb Hensarling, whose name always comes up when conservatives start talking about their wish list for leadership, has already said he won't run. Jim Jordan said repeatedly earlier this year that he doesn't want to be Speaker. "What we need is real leadership," conservatives liked to say about Boehner. Okay, here's our big opportunity. Where is it?
We have Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R CA), but Allah points out all is not happy in grassrootsville. Mark Levin calls him "Eric Cantor with ten less IQ points."
Not a Levin fan -- that should be "Eric Cantor with ten fewer IQ points."
The problem with adding a "GOP Self-destruction" category is that there are certainly some data constraints on the MySQL database which underlies this blog. I don't know whether it could handle the stress.
Jim Geraghty [subscribe] makes me look rather cheerful, but he asks the same question:
Okay, grassroots conservatives, here's your chance.
You wanted John Boehner out as Speaker, and now he's on his way out. Right now the buzz is that House majority leader Kevin McCarthy is a slam-dunk to replace him.
If grassroots conservatives want one of their own to be Speaker, they have to unite quickly behind an alternative . . . and one who wants the job.
If there is some grand plan underlying this, it is better hidden than any 9-11 conspiracy. I suspect the scalp is good enough. My Facebook feed (the right half) is listing who's next: McConnell, McCain, Graham, Flake &c. I get on each and comment "Umm, guys, how about some Democrats?"
We'll get rid of all those bleeping RINOs and have five brave defenders of liberty left in Congress. Hell, I could join the Libertarians if I wanted that.
house freedom caucus; a recipe for GOP dysfunction?
Brother JG notes:
The whole thing is moot, is it not, unless Senate Majority Leader McConnell changes the filibuster rule the same way as his predecessor, Senate Majority Leader Reid.
I would agree that the Iran deal would seem the time and place to go with this, but note that so far even Dingy Harry only sought to circumvent filibuster for judicial nominees. Invoking it for legislation would, in many ways, dramatically change the Senate in many ways, likely permanently. This should be daunting to any leader. A more incremental approach is (and has been) proposed along several lines, yet perhaps doomed by this interesting issue.
Tom McClintock announced Wednesday he was resigning from the House Freedom Caucus, saying the group’s hardball tactics had undermined conservative goals rather than advancing them
He provides specific examples in his resignation letter to Jim Jordan. who leads HFC:
House Republicans attempted to pass a three-week stop gap bill so we could avoid a catastrophic shutdown of our security agencies while continuing to bring public opinion to bear to de-fund the ["amnesty"] orders. At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with House Democrats to defeat this effort, resulting in the full funding of these illegal orders for the fiscal year.
Last week, the House was scheduled to adopt the Resolution of Disapproval of the disastrous Iran nuclear agreement – the only legally binding action available to Congress under the Corker Act. Once again, the House Freedom Caucus leadership threatened to combine with House Democrats to defeat the Resolution, forcing the House leadership to abandon it in favor of a symbolic and legally meaningless vote.
For several months, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have threatened to shut down the government on October 1st unless Congress unleashes another unsustainable cycle of tax increases and borrowing. Last week, the House Freedom Caucus formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood.
A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions. As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally.
So, what has been perceived - certainly by me! - as lack of backbone and/or initiative in the GOP, could be a result of this group blocking many a common sense, procedural-based approach to stopping the Obama train. Why? I would like to know.
12 separate appropriation bills for the major government departments, as Congress is supposed to do under the modern budget process. If Congress were doing its job properly, they could threaten to shut down just the Department of Health and Human Services, and/or they could attach Planned Parenthood defunding to all 12 appropriation bills and make Obama issue 12 vetoes ... That would transform the politics of any shutdown radically.
So, we've got Jordan and Mark Meadows [wingnut?, NC]; who are the other eight, and WHAT DO THEY WANT besides defunding PP? I can only guess it's about power. Are they Tea Party-driven or "social issues conservatives"? Still, as Dr. Hayward notes above,
the real failure of GOP leadership in both houses—is that we’re once again looking at passing yet another omnibus continuing resolution
So, HFC could be demanding some sort of idealogical purity, or perhaps just trying to move leadership away from what I've see as a surfeit of what "Beltway Syndrome" aka, we insiders will do as we (incumbents, all) and our lobbyists deem necessary.
I'm puzzled by the backroom deals, and not unhappy to see Boehner leave, but would like to know what's going on: I certainly know that the word "conservative" only meaning when published in the MSM is "them." To me, it means mostly the limited gov't, "Liberty" agenda; is that only me? Certainly Boehner's 1st Lieutenant, Eric Cantor, was defeated (deservedly so, from what I could tell) with Tea Party support as being way too steeped in the ways of Beltway Syndrome.
I'm hoping this is the start of a Gladstonian revolt, and not one leading to a Handmaid's Tale...
I was amused to see my comment and my blog brother's side by side on Senator Cory Gardner's (Now that is real leadership! - CO) Facebook post.
This morning, the Senate voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority, also known as TPA. I'm a strong supporter of free trade, and I voted in favor of TPA.
Trade supports hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs in Colorado. TPA provides Congress with the authority to approve high-quality trade deals that create jobs, break down barriers for American exporters, and put more goods stamped 'Made in the USA' on shelves overseas. Free trade deals enhance America's standing in the world, building stronger alliances with our friends and putting economic pressure on our rivals.
TPA is the best path forward to finalizing transparent trade agreements that keep America competitive, strengthen our economy, and create better-paying jobs for Coloradans. Now, it's the administration's responsibility to negotiate a good deal and bring it before Congress and the American people for a full public vetting and a vote.
Fairness dictates that I point out that I appear to be the ONLY supportive comment in the long list. But one man with courage makes a majority, right?
Democrats are furious, though watching them try to shame Mr. McConnell into moving up a vote on the first black woman nominee for AG is amusing. Someone had the bad idea to roll out Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who compared Ms. Lynch to Rosa Parks, railing that Republicans were making her "sit in the back of the bus."
This would be the same Dick Durbin who filibustered Janice Rogers Brown (the first black woman nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) and who kicked off the bus Miguel Estrada (the first Hispanic nominee to that court)--filibustering him seven times over 28 months, until he withdrew his nomination. Progress, thy name is not Dick Durbin. -- Kim Strassel
Trigger Warning: I'll warn ThreeSourcers that the link contains some approbation for the Senate Majority leader. I don't want to ruin anybody's day.
After a committee hearing, the Keystone bill spent three weeks on the Senate floor, where it was debated at length and amended by senators of both parties. In all, the Senate voted on 41 amendments--almost three times as many amendment roll call votes as the Democrat-led Senate conducted in all of 2014. -- Sen. John Thune (Better Than Dashle - SD)
It is not liberty in its own right, but the return to regular order is a return to following the Constitution.
"Our main hope is that we can represent the voids and valleys for our constituents back home," Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho told The Daily Signal today. "With a small group that is nimble and able to work on issues that are of importance to our constituents, we can make a difference in Congress."
Called the House Freedom Caucus, the group serves as a conservative alternative to the Republican Study Committee, which has over 170 members. However, it was not formed to be "anti-RSC," a Republican congressional aide told The Daily Signal last month.
Now, I'd love it were the same group to be called, say, "The GOP" or something. And I have generally high esteem for the RSC. But this is a good step.
In related news, with heavy heart I had to un-follow my big-L nemesis on Facebook. He posts outrageous, incendiary things about all those losers and fools who still vote GOP, but he has never engaged me with any kind of intellectual honesty. I will wait for he and his three dedicated "atty boy" followers to vote in a new era of total liberty -- and then I will pile on the bandwagon and brag how I knew him back when. Until that time, I will not spend much time on those who will not honestly engage, whatever side they be on.
Until seven minutes ago, I was convinced that the Speaker was not only within his rights to invite PM Netanyahu to speak to Congress, but also that it was a good idea to tell our ally that not all of us are pusillanimous appeasers.
But I find this blog post from the Tenth Amendment Center compelling:
First, Congress has no Article I, Section 8 to host a foreign leader. (Moreover, the necessary and proper clause, the usual refuge of Congress when it lacks an express power, isn't available here, because Congress isn't passing a law. The power is only to "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper...").
Second, reception of foreign leaders is an exclusive power of the President. Article II, Section 3, provides that "he [the President] shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers." In this situation, Prime Minister Netanyahu, appearing as the official representative of his country, should be classed as a "public Minister."
I wish my opponents to follow the clear text of the Constitution; I will ask my friends to do the same.
I'm not betrayed -- but very surprised -- at "Mr. Libertarian" David Hasanyi's disappointment in the GOP's pulling the 20-week abortion bill.
Before the GOP had pulled the bill, Washington Post's Dana Milbank argued that Republicans were needlessly reviving the culture wars, pulling a bait and switch on the electorate--because abortion is not a high priority for voters and it was "rarely" campaigned on as in issue during the midterms.
Now, I can't find a corresponding piece from Milbank griping about the Left's obsession with climate change, an issue that is also consistently one of the lowest priorities among voters, but I'm sure it exists somewhere. What's truly absurd, though, is the idea that the GOP is alone responsible for any "revival of the culture wars." The culture war never ended. Some of you probably remember the Democrats' gynecocentric campaign to paint every GOP candidates as a misogynist.
Can't argue with a word and -- at the risk of setting the first worm-dish out at the ThreeSources Potluck -- I am squishy enough to support a 20-week ban. But I think my favorite journalist errs on the politics. Yes, the Democrats lost by focusing exclusively on gynecology, but the Republicans won not by offering superior uterine legislation but by saying "we are going to accomplish other things."
So having such an early bill on a socially-tinged issue disappointed me, and I was pretty glad to have it pulled. Bring it up this time next year. And think of a principled way to extend it a bit later in the term. And I will support it or vote "present."
All hail the conquering hero: Sen. Joni Ernst (Squeeeee! IA)
Sen. Joni Ernst scares Democrats because she is a woman who has a strong conservative philosophy and message that appeals to a lot of people. According to the Washington Post everything about her biography and style blunts the Democrats' usual criticisms of conservative women.
I liked candidate Ernst, sent a small sum (I'm not ADM or anything), was happy to see her elected, and pleased to find that she was delivering the dreaded SOTU response.
She did fine, and I agree with Steve Straub (quoted above) that she is an asset to the party. But George Will called her "a new star," and many others have offered effusive praise. I did not see the same speech. She covered the part (and I loved the camo pumps!) but I felt that she was talking down to me a bit.
I gave Governor Bobby "Thin" Jindal and Senator Marco "Thirsty" Rubio better marks than the rest of the pundit class did. Perhaps I am regressing to the mean, but Sen Ernst gets a Gentlelady's B." Me wrong?
I caught most of the SOTU performance tonight, in a re-run after a late hockey game. (We won in a shootout after a 4-4 tie.) I'm now moved to comment on some of the most important aspects. ... Did Boehner really wear a PURPLE tie? Come on, man!
"A canceled flight, due to weather, from South Carolina to Washington this morning regrettably prevented me from being in Washington for today's speaker vote," Gowdy said in a statement. "Had our flight not been canceled, I would have voted for our conference nominee, John Boehner."
"The position of speaker of the House is a difficult job as evidenced by the fact that so few members seek the position," Gowdy said. "Speaker Boehner was approved overwhelmingly by the conference in November. In fact, not a single other name was placed in nomination."
I am more disillusioned about politics today than the "don't jump, jk" posts of 2012. FB:
Ken Buck just voted for Boehner as Speaker of the House. He has betrayed the trust of those he serves. This is a huge disappointment given he has run as a Tea Party conservative, but shows Ken's true character - Party over Principle. Another hugely sad day for CD4.
Hilarity: People surprised Ken Buck and Congressman Mike Coffman just voted for Boehner.
Wake up people. The GOP isn't interested in limited government. The few exceptions are notable because they are so few.
Quit collaborating with your own oppression. A vote for Boehner (and a vote for someone who voted for Boehner) is a vote for your own oppression via more big government.
Change starts with you.
UPDATE: The Hon. John Boehner is elected Speaker, and one rational voice appears on my FB feed:
Ok, old folks in the GOP, time to face facts. Your generation either failed to participate or actively aided the GOP in becoming what it is today. I am happy you want to change it, and I am happy you recognize that there are problems.
I also understand that you are old and time is short and you want change RIGHT BLEEPING NOW. You will not get what you want. Turning either party toward liberty is going to take a long time. Keeping it oriented toward liberty will take constant vigilance.
Instead of whining and threatening to leave the party, and therefore politics (this is known as quitting where I come from) keep fighting, teach the youngsters how politics works, stop supporting candidates you know aren't limited government.
In other words, SUCK IT UP CUPCAKE!
Nobody else ran.
Those who mattered did not run; those who ran did not matter.
The second vote getter was of course Rep. Pelosi. The distant third was Rep, Daniel Webster of Florida. The name connotes statesmanship, but he announced one hour before voting. That's the kind of forward thinking leadershio the GOP needs! "Well, gee, I guess I'll be Speaker. Do you still get a really big gavel? That's be cool..."
Sec. General Colin Powell got a vote as did Sen. Rand Paul. All my friends are furious that my new Representative, Ken Buck, voted for the Speaker (with 215 of his new friends). Yet, Nobody. Else, Ran.
The Internet Segue Machine™ is sending meters into the red on this one. Ayn Rand Institute President Yaron Brook sounds some common themes from ThreeSources:
And the WSJ Ed Page piles on. "Corporate Welfare" is pulled into the subhead, though it is one item in a laundry list of "restrained" GOP goals.
Republicans can use control of the committees in both chambers to educate the public about the problems confronting the country and to advertise failed programs and special-interest abuses. An especially useful early statement would be to oppose corporate welfare to show how powerful government helps the powerful. The last thing the GOP needs is to be the party of the Chamber of Commerce when the Chamber is lobbying for the Ex-Im Bank
A great friend (who, sadly prefers email to Facebook and Blogging) sent me a message. He was concerned about the GOP leadership elections and specifically about Sens. Corker (Establishment - TN) and Thune (Ditto - SD) appearing on FNS and talking up a gas tax. In fairness to the Senators, they tried to make clear this would be revenue neutral reform to take no more money but direct more toward infrastructure.
I don't have rights or permission to share the missive (he would grant it -- holler if you want) but I do have rights to my response. And I could dedicate this to dozens of Facebook friends and ThreeSourcers:
I have some very interesting friends, David. I would not trade them for the world and all its gold. But I have a lot of friends whom I accuse of impeding the cause of liberty, because their tactics are bad -- although their motives good and their principles sound. Most of those are on your side of the leadership fight and all seem substantively invested.
I, too, wish to encourage the GOP to move to liberty-friendly positions. And I, too, would like to see it happen quickly. But I feel the need to balance between that desire and exigencies. I have rightly been accused of being too cautious and going too slowly but these of whom I speak make no allowance to political exigency.
I am reading John Allison's "The Leadership Cure" where the Cato CEO and BB&T Stud mixes business acumen and Objectivist principles -- it's quite good. I'm less fully invested in Rand than a lot of people I know, I suspect far less than you. But Allison’s book nicely mimics the AS III movie that you cannot ignore reality. Rand-love 'em, my GOP-directin' friends ignore reality worse than stoner wind-power lobbyists at an Earth Day parade. "Fight! Fight! Fight!" can be a sign of courage, but the bravest of Generals know when to consolidate and when to seek reinforcements.
I'm concerned that the leadership seems too cautious, but I cannot abet those who would throw away hard-won electoral gains on a foolish demonstration of bravado. I'd love some cool-headed discussion, and am amenable to persuasion. But the Intertubes are abuzz with a-strategic and ill-founded calls for action which are not likely in liberty's interest.
I suggested that everything can evolve, even the GOP, and this post is written with hope that the GOP "establishment" evolves as well. Indications are positive, if you look at the serious analysis instead of the fever swamps on either side of the spectrum. I've heard my liberty friends wail that "the day after the election McConnell is swearing off the government shutdown and promising to work together with the Democrats to make the Senate productive again." I don't know that he actually said that, but I do know that with GOP majorities in both chambers, Republicans only have to work together with each other to make the Senate productive again.
To that end, what effect can the incoming class of Republican legislators have? National Journal's Josh Kraushaar writes that they will make all the difference in the world.
"All of them ran because they want the Senate to be a functioning institution. They're not looking for crisis moments as leverage points," said Billy Piper, a former chief of staff to McConnell. "This is a pretty unified bunch."
That's not to say the new wave isn't conservative, but there's a huge distinction between being conservative and being uncompromising. All of these GOP senators-elect have an interest in policy, and already showcased governing aptitude.
So, liberty friends, would you rather try to ramrod our principles the way the Dems did in 2009, while we have the chance, or would you prefer to lead with sound policies and maintain a GOP majority for a few more cycles? I'm willing to get on board for the latter. Mitch, don't let me down, you formerly watered down collectivist RINO traitor who I once wanted out of office. Prove to me that the "formerly" is warranted.
My lefty and Democrat Facebook friends have been pretty quiet since the election (Bette Midler is a fine person but not on my feed, so this does not count). But the libertarians are in full mouth-foam. They gave the GOP a chance for these last 20 hours or so, but dammit, the Grand Old Party has let them down. Again.
The offending thing is an interview with TIME, where Senator McConnell said no government shutdowns and no full ObamaCare repeal. I posted a couple of places that I did not expect a small majority to dismantle the New Deal. (I was called an apologist by a candidate for Attorney General -- how's your day?)
I know some ThreeSourcers find Sen. McConnell too tentative, but I am pleased with two editorials. The second is Dan Henniger's WonderLand. He talks about economic growth.
If allowing economic growth to persist below the U.S.'s historic achievement is a political death trap for the party in power, the future looks bleak for the Democrats. The election eliminated the senators who passed for the party's political center. What's left is . . . the left. Operating from behind the Blue moats of California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut--the left is fine with 2% growth. Progressive Democratic policies on Keystone, power-plant closures and oil exports crushed younger, unionized job seekers. For them, a politics of "sustainable" but low growth amounts to, Let them eat sunshine.
The ascendant GOP congressional majority needs to do one thing: Liberate the locked-in U.S. economy. Start opening every valve the Obama Democrats turned shut. That's the real gridlock. Voters didn't do this just so Washington could work. Voters did this in the expectation that Washington will now enable them to work. There's a difference. This is a bet that the class of 2014 gets it.
The first editorial would be Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell's "Reform the tax code, redefine "full time" as working 40 hours a week, move on the Keystone XL pipeline--there are plenty of tasks ahead."
It is not a libertarian manifesto. There are some eye-rollers in there. But there are some good ideas that would tee-up properitarian principles for 2016, and some things that might pass before then.