We’ve just passed the ninety day mark since the November elections and by now it should be clear what was sold to Republican voters during the campaign season is out of sync with what is getting delivered.
Any casual observer can see a pattern of behavior that hardly deserves commendation. In 2010, we start with zero control of 2 branches of government. We’re promised a certain agenda once we get at least the House of Representatives. On the wave of the Tea Party and Liberty movements, Republicans take over the lower chamber, putting John Boehner at the helm.
Then we see bad deal after bad deal, raising the debt ceiling with little or no strings attached and continuing resolutions rather than real budgets to keep a bloated federal government growing. We’re told that with only one half of one third of government there’s only so much we can do… we must have the Senate as well.
In 2014 Republican Senate candidates tell us we must elect them so we can fire Harry Reid and stop the President’s destructive agenda. There was never a unified positive agenda offered to take the country in a wholly different direction… only promises to stop destructive economic policies and a pattern of Executive overreach.
On election night, there’s celebration. The Republican Party clearly gets a mandate to do something different by getting control of the Senate. It would seem this momentum would be enough to empower a bolder approach to promoting Constitutional and fiscally responsible policies. And it was. But the hearts of the politicians would soon be revealed during the dreaded Lame Duck session of Congress.
First the Republican Conference convenes. Rather than taking the opportunity to forge a new direction with new leadership, the status quo is simply affirmed. John Boehner is nominated and affirmed to continue as the Speaker of the House for the new Congress in 2015. On the Senate side, Mitch McConnell became Majority Leader, simply because Republicans now outnumber Democrats. Then, we watched the creation of the abomination that came to be known as “Cromnibus”.
No true Liberty lover believes it appropriate to run the government with Continuing Resolutions. And it should be clear by now that there are fewer pieces of legislation more destructive to fiscal discipline and good governance in general than Omnibus bills. These “everything but the kitchen sink” leviathans are Exhibit “A” for what is wrong with Big Government. So it can hardly be seen as anything but betrayal that any respectable leader would vote for, much less promote a combination of these misguided legislative concoctions. Frankenstein’s monster is a friendly children’s cartoon character by comparison. But the Republican leadership made the deal and most Republican lawmakers complied.
In all honesty I must say I never expected anything different. Nor was I surprised to see a repeat of this pathetic display this past week on funding for the Department of Homeland Security. A good friend who is a member of Congress correctly characterized that vote. It was not about Homeland Security. It was not even about Amnesty. The foundational issue was Separation of Powers. On this basis, The Republican legislature voted to affirm its irrelevancy. Harry Reid remains the de facto leader of the Legislative Branch.
Why, you ask? The dirty secret is we officially have a One Party system in the United States. There is no real opposition party.
As a radio talk show host I am guilty of calling Boehner and my former Senator McConnell “cowards”. That is not completely accurate. The truth is these politicians have no real Constitutionalconvictions, and the men and women who follow them into the abyss of intellectual vapidity don’t either.
When I was a Republican candidate for Congress, I reminded people my campaign came under the banner of the party formed to abolish slavery. I suspect that since Abolition, the Republican Party has no real demonstrable reason to affirm its existence, other than self preservation of a brand.
Sure, we can point to pockets of successful accomplishments by Presidents and Legislators who advanced some Constitutional principles over the years. But when looking at the big picture, the so called Progressive agenda has advanced, even with Republicans in power. The Federal Reserve, the 17th Amendment, and the explosive growth of alphabet government agencies with extra Constitutional authority have proliferated over the 20th century, directly assaulting rights our Founding Document “reserved to the States” and to us as individuals. And even when Republicans had complete control in the first few years of this century, they affirmed their belief in Big Government, not only by refusing to dismantle it, but by making it even bigger.
Perhaps the most insightful perspectives on our One Party system have come from abroad. At the recent CPAC 2015 gathering, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage described the reason he stepped out in faith to lead this revolutionary movement to shake up the political system across the pond. He observed the unholy trinity of Big Government, Big Banks and Big Business. They create a regulatory environment where small businesses and individuals cannot compete. Ultimately no one speaks for us. Now Farage declares that UKIP is the party for aspiration. In fact, the appeal of this new brand is greatest for those at the lower end of the economic scale: those who “make enough to get by, but can’t seem to get ahead”. They’ve realized the two parties that ruled the country through Corporatism, overregulation and Big Global politics don’t work for them. UKIP is successfully cutting across the class divide.
Back here in America, those of us who don’t operate in the upper echelon of this party need to listen to the counsel from the prophet Haggai:
Consider your ways. 6 jYou have sown much, and harvested little. kYou eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who learns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Haggai 1:5-6
Haggai’s divinely inspired to the political leaders is one need to take on today. We must consider our ways. We’ve voted for this party. Many of us have canvassed, made calls for, and advocated for this party. And we all know ridiculous amounts of money have been spent in the name of this party. Let’s be honest: What do we have to show for it? At best we’ve played a “holding game”, and a pathetic one at that.
I contend it is time to put up or shut up. Either we fight to uphold the integrity of the Constitution or we don’t. Most of the labels we hear thrown around mindlessly mean little or nothing. Here is the end of the matter: our Republic stands on the precipice of collapse in every way and the path of “moderation” is a path of appeasement to those who want to “fundamentally transform” America into what it has never been and was never intended to be.
Voters in November clearly wanted something that could be categorized as “other”. But we could all sing in unison the words of a popular 80’s song from U2:“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. We still supported this party only because it seemed to be the only viable and immediate vehicle to oppose the continued assaults on the very foundations of America.
I suspect that without a major turnaround between now and 2016, this once highly respected institution will become the new Whig party. And only the ruling political class will bother to mourn. The people I talk with who are most committed to the values in our Founding Documents are checking out and changing their affiliation to Independent or Unaffiliated. The Republican Party has betrayed our trust.
Vince Coakley is a Radio Talk Show Host for WORD in Greenville, SC. Vince is a former Republican nominee for Congress, and former television news anchor and reporter. Visit his WEBSITE.
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