Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Necessary Civil War

"[They are] lemmings with suicide vests…They have to be more than just a lemming. Because jumping to your death is not enough."

"I was correct in my analysis, and I'd say a lot of those folks were not correct in theirs."

"Barack Obama set the trap. Some congressional Republicans walked into it. As a result, the president is stronger, the GOP is weaker, and Obamacare is marginally more popular. ...  It's time Republicans remembered that bad tactics produce bad outcomes."

"If anybody should be kicked out, it's probably those Republicans—and not Speaker Boehner—who are unwilling to keep the promises they made to American people."

As you've probably figured out, these are recent quotes by politicians.  All of them are Republicans talking about...other Republicans.

No matter your political views, if you've been paying any attention at all you know that there have been some epic battles in Washington lately. While some have been between Republicans and Democrats, the worst have been within the Republican party between the establishment politicians who shy away from rocking the boat and the rabble-rousers known as the Tea Party caucus.

The emergence of the Tea Party movement began during Bush's final years in office, as voters and pundits began to frown on his push for taxpayer bailouts of big banks and the auto industry, a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus package in the form of government spending, and encouraging lawmakers to pass yet another amnesty for another 12 million illegal aliens.

The movement gained momentum during the run-up to the 2008 general election, fueled by a segment of the Republican electorate furious that the party could find no better representative than John McCain to run against the Democrats' rock-star candidate, Senator Barack Obama.  Predictably, McCain was handily beaten on Election Day despite an inexperienced but conservative Sarah Palin balancing out the ticket.

Facing at least two years of one-party Democrat rule, conservative voters had reached the end of their rope.  They were sick of watching both parties spend our tax dollars like drunken sailors and growing the scope and reach of the federal government while ignoring fundamental Constitutional responsibilities to ensure the rule of law and to keep our borders secure.

Stories of angry conservative voters venting their anger at their representatives at town hall meetings started emerging.  New faces began to appear on the political landscape.  Men and women that shared the sentiment that the Republican party had lost its way and needed an overhaul.  America was introduced to Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Michelle Bachmann, Mike Lee, Chris Christie, and others.

The successes started piling up immediately.  In a nasty Wisconsin fight, newly-elected Gov. Scott Walker beat back the powerful teachers' union in order to restore some fiscal sanity to his state's public education programs and prevailed in a subsequent recall election.  Chris Christie was elected to govern liberal New Jersey, where he also claimed victory against unions there.  In Texas, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz faced the state's not-unpopular David Dewhurst in a primary election to the U.S. Senate and rode his message to victory, easily beating his Democrat opponent and running on Tea Party principles of smaller, Constitutional federal government, less spending, and a strong free market (note the lack of anything even remotely related to race or ethnicity).

The establishmentarians took notice.  Some Republicans cautiously began shifting their positions to align with the Tea Party while others bet that the status quo and going-along-to-get-along would look better to voters...many of whom had been disgusted with Congress for many years for its ineptitude in moving the country in the right direction.

The 2012 general election proved to be another disaster.  The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, lost the election in spectacular fashion.  It would be another four years of Obama, with Republicans holding on to a slim majority in the House.  It seems the lessons of 2008 and 2010 had not yet been learned.

In September of this year, the government was running out of money to operate and was quickly approaching the limit of its authority to borrow money.  This was the fight that the Tea Party had been salivating over for years.  It would use these two critical items to extract concessions on Obamacare from the Democrats during negotiations.  Since Republicans controlled the House, from which spending bills originate, they would craft bills that granted the necessary continuing budget resolution and a temporary increase to the debt limit while removing any funding for Obamacare.

The president would have none of it.  He indicated that there would be no negotiations on the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the House bill dead on arrival in the Senate, as he would do with every single bill floated by Republicans.

As days went by, Democrats stuck to thier guns and refused negotiations with Republicans and cracks began to appear in the Republican resolve.  Ted Cruz stood before the Senate pleading his case for 21 hours straight in a futile attempt to garner enough support to force negotiations.  The Democrats held firm as more and more Republicans waved white flags, ready to acquiesce to all of Obama's demands. 

The deadline for the continuing resolution came and went, and the government "shut down" (about 13% of it, anyway).  As barricades went up at national parks and monuments across the country, the Democrats kept pounding away by ensuring the mainstream media carried the narrative that Republicans were responsible.  The ignorant public bought it just like Dems counted on them doing.

More Republicans folded like dollar store card tables.  Hoping to be seen as trying to restore normalcy, they, too, scrambled for every camera and microphone they could find in order to blast the Tea Party strategy.  More bills were floated with fewer and fewer Republican demands, until more than two weeks after the shutdown, the Democrats claimed victory while the Republicans walked away with their asses in their hands, and without a single concession.

The Great Republican Implosion of 2013 will go down in history as one of the greatest political embarrassments of all time.

I was disgusted.  How could this happen?  How could Republicans have pissed away such a golden opportunity?  How could they have allowed the narrative that it was their fault to go unchallenged?  After all, it was Obama and the Democrats that steadfastly refused to negotiate.  13 separate proposals to end the standoff were drawn up by Republicans that were all shot down by Democrats.  The president refused to have his signature legislation, which is still unpopular with the majority of Americans, impeded in any way.  And Republicans caved.  The battle was senselessly lost.

But, the war goes on.  It's a war for the future of our nation.  Republicans MUST be the party of  Constitutional governance, fiscal responsibility and the Rule of Law...nobody else is going to do it!  Our country simply cannot continue on its current path.  Every taxpayer in America owes nearly $150,000 for his share of the national debt.  That's absolutely insane, and with recent census data showing that there are more people dependent on welfare than are in the workforce, the trajectory is only getting worse, and in a hurry.

Make no mistake, this Republican civil war is an absolute necessity.  We can only hope that it is over soon and the party emerges with strong Tea Party principles as its platform.  I think the only way that can happen is to reverse the trend of ignorance and apathy among the electorate.  Democrats desperately need people to be ignorant in order to advance their agenda, and they use their friends in the media to make sure they control what people hear. 

In addition to Tea Party principles, the Republican civil war absolutely must produce a better messaging strategy, and it needs to identify someone that can deliver that message in a way that resonates with voters.

Without a Republican party makeover that changes hearts and minds of voters, the next American Civil War will be fought not with rhetoric, bills and political capital, but with guns, tanks, and bombs.  I hope that isn't necessary, but if you think we needed hope and change before, we REALLY need it now.