Admit it. Even as you watched the election results roll in last November, you had mixed emotions. You wondered if it would have been better to have seen establishment Republicans like [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] get defeated rather than see their power increase and worse yet watch them try to claim a mandate for their squishy brand of leadership. But then you imagined another 2 years of [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] as majority leader and you figured the lesser of two evils had transpired.
Perhaps you dared to hold on to some cautious optimism that after having won the Senate, the Republicans would find their voice (and maybe their collective spine). But deep down inside you knew what was coming.
The first blow to any hopes we might have had was the infamous “Crominbus” bill. In one fell swoop the Republicans surrendered the budget battle before the new majority even took office. There would be no fight over the funding of Obamacare. They did however promise to fight Obama on illegal immigration by funding the department of Homeland Security only until February (more on that upcoming disappointment later).
The next blow was the re-election of [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] as Speaker of the House. Why Republicans continue to elect a man whose negotiating relationship with President Obama is akin to the scene in the Jungle Book involving Mowgli and the snake (I’ll let you guess which is which) is beyond me. Several allegedly conservative Republicans justified their failure to back a challenge to Boehner by lamenting that there was no clear path to victory (which incidentally is the new Republican slogan). However, if those very same people would have voted against Boehner they probably would have brought enough votes to remove him.
The third blow was a watered-down abortion bill intended to restrict late-term abortions. Led by Republican [mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ], Republicans showed us that they can’t even deliver for one of their most loyal constituent groups – the Pro Life movement.
Waiting in the wings are further disappointments. All indications are that Republicans will pass an immigration bill that essentially condones Obama’s lawless executive order while continuing to insult our intelligence by promising to secure the border by building less of the fence that they promised to build in 2006. Charlie Brown has a better chance of kicking a football held by Lucy than we do of ever seeing any tangible border security measures from this Congress and this Administration.
Other troubling ripples include news that Republicans now feel it necessary to come up with their own plan to combat the very pressing (and very fake) issue of climate change. I’ve also heard some Republicans discussing raising the gas tax now that gas prices have dropped so much. At this rate by the summer the Republican agenda will include a VAT tax, a resurrection of the Equal Rights Amendment, and passage of Obama’s free community college program.
Yes, these are the Republicans we thought they were – spineless, rudderless, yet unusually ruthless when it comes to dealing with conservatives within their party. And so we can look forward to another two years of excuses. We can’t get too tough on illegal immigration for fear of isolating Hispanic voters. We can’t address Obamacare while Obama is President. We can’t use the power of the purse to restrain Obama’s out of control administration because we’ll get blamed for shutting down the government (never mind that we enjoyed a massive electoral victory only a year after having shut down the government).
So while Democrats seek to rally and inspire their constituents with talk of “yes we can!”, Republicans work tirelessly to lower expectations while reminding us of all the things they can’t do. The one thing they have managed to do is give us plenty of reasons to remove them in the next primary election.