In 2010, the Republican Party regained control of the House in an historic election. While the President’s party is expected to lose seats in this chamber in midterm elections, this shift was one of titanic proportions. And the cause of that shift can be directly traced back to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This was an exclamation point of disapproval by voters from New Hampshire to Washington state. If not for some miscues along the way, the GOP could have also won the Senate but that is a whole other story. Importantly, however, is the lesson to be learned from those Senate losses: in many cases, the national GOP abandoned their candidate over something said out of context or succumbing to liberal attacks.
This aura of fear permeates the GOP leadership to this day. Social security reform now mirrors Democratic ideas. Obamacare is still a reality. The IRS, NLRB, and EPA are still running amok. Hours of testimony in the IRS scandal resulted in basically nothing. Meanwhile, Obama unilaterally rewrites American immigration law with a stroke of the pen while the GOP sits around with their hands down their pants like they have a bad case of diaper rash.
It is frustration with this inaction that has fueled the rise of people like Donald Trump. Even here, the Republican Party is running scared fearing he has a chance at winning the nomination. Although not a Donald Trump fan by any stretch of the imagination, at this point he would be preferable to any Republican establishment presidential candidate like Bush or Kasich.
Back in May of 2015- five months after the 114th Congress was sworn in, a Congress where Republicans controlled both houses- a poll was conducted among registered voters. While 23% of the general public believed the GOP failed to keep their campaign promises in 2014, 37% of Republicans felt that way. Compare this with a similar poll in 1994 and the celebrated Contract With America. Then, 59% of the general public said the GOP kept their promises while 89% of Republicans were satisfied that promises were kept. Either today’s public and/or Republican voter is jaded and pessimistic, or today’s Republican leadership is inept. I vote for the latter; the ineptness fuels the pessimism.
Perhaps we can blame the Senate rules and cloture votes for delaying progress to a certain extent. And perhaps we on the Right are somewhat impatient in seeing an agenda advanced, but what is frustrating is the utter lack of the will to fight for anything. That some poll alluded to above indicated that 59% of Republicans did not feel Congress was good at controlling spending, 57% said the GOP Congress was not good on immigration and most egregiously, 75% of Republicans wished Congress would challenge Obama more forcefully. Hell- a majority of independents wished Congress was more forceful.
With Obamacare, Congress placed their hope and faith in the Supreme Court which let them down. But look at their “plan” had the Supreme Court decided otherwise: keep Obamacare afloat until 2017. This is the same tactic used by Obama- delay mandates and hold off on the unpopular aspects of the law until he was on his way out of office. Thankfully, a courageous federal judge put the brakes on his immigration amnesty executive order, but even here the GOP is not moving hoping the courts will side with them.
But the worst abrogation of duty and principle is their failure to protect innocent human life (1) by running from the Pain Capable Abortion Act and (2) defunding Planned Parenthood. The reason is simple- this “leadership” is afraid of repercussions and is holding out hope a Republican wins the White House in 2016. But here is the problem: even if a Republican does win the White House, any action in this area still has to make it through the Senate and House. That is what is aggravating- the inability or unwillingness for the GOP to use the one power they have the greatest control over right now- the power of the purse.
Then again, if they aren’t running scared from the imaginary war on women, they are running scared from the blame game for a government shutdown. This Congress could go a very long way to regaining the trust of its base by forcing a showdown on this one important issue which goes to the core of our principles as a Nation. Given the recent dropping of the ball in House hearings involving Planned Parenthood, there should not be much hope in that area. Yes- the GOP will be blamed for shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, but this is a unique opportunity to turn the tables on the Democrats and prove that they support a ghoulish enterprise that traffics in baby parts.
That is the saddest part of this whole escapade: the Democratic minority in both houses of Congress and an unpopular Democratic president are willing to fight tooth and nail for Planned Parenthood, but the Republican “leadership” in the House and Senate is unwilling to fight for human life. If they are unwilling in this one vital area, then the Republican Party stands for nothing and there is no qualitative difference between them and the Democrats. What good are majorities in the Senate and House if they cower before a threatened presidential veto or yet another lecture from Obama? It is called expending political capital and if you are not willing to expend it over human life, then I don’t know what is more important.