Last week, Chuck Schumer gave a humdinger of a speech on the Senate floor – one that told you everything you needed to know about both the determination of the progressive crowd that still controls most of the power in the nation’s Capitol.

Apparently, the terminally disingenuous Schumer was upset because even though the House once again voted for a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown until April 8, 54 Republicans voted against the measure. How dare they do their constituents’ bidding?

In a kiss-up to Speaker John Boehner, Schumer said, “The speaker has said all along that he wants to avoid a shutdown at all costs, and I believe him. He is a good man. The problem is, a large percentage of those in his party don’t feel the same way.”

Boehner is the fearsome leader of the Republican Party who has been quoted as making such menacing statements as, “… the time has come for Democrats and Republicans to have an adult conversation” and “a government shutdown is unacceptable.”

Funny, Mr. Speaker, but until the tea-party folks took matters into their own hands and gifted your party control of the House, Democrats weren’t even talking to you – especially about legislation. In fact, they weren’t even letting you into their closed-door meetings. No wonder you couldn’t stop crying.

Everyone on Capitol Hill lives in mortal fear that his party will be blamed for a government shutdown. Talk about not getting the voters’ message. Attention all Republicans dolts: Most tea-party folks would love to see a government shutdown – and would gladly take credit for it.

A government shutdown is a way to stop a lot of government spending without having to fight to repeal anything. I believe about half the voters would like to see a government shutdown – and keep it shut down until Congress agrees to cut the budget by an amount equal to the $1.7 trillion deficit … for starters.

This would be a quick and easy way to cut off funds for a whole range of government actions and programs that are unconstitutional to begin with, such as Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, NPR and EPA-threatened cap-and-trade regulations. Of course, badly needed programs like the Cowboy Poetry Festival would get hurt as well, but … hey, life isn’t always fair.

What about the other half of America that doesn’t want such extreme budget cuts? Irrelevant. Their desires are trumped by the answers to two overriding questions: 1) Is it constitutional and 2) Can we afford it? In almost all cases, the answer to the first question is no. In all cases, the answer to the second question is no.

Schumer also went on to say, “They [congressional tea-party types] think compromise is a dirty word.” I would hope so. Voters didn’t send 87 new members to the House of Representatives to compromise on how much or how little the American taxpayer should be screwed. The message I heard, loud and clear, was: “Don’t tread on me.”

Finally, apparently agreeing with Harry Reid and his fellow progressives that the tea-party “will disappear when the economy improves,” Schumer said, “This shows there are enough reachable conservatives in the House, who, along with a group of Democrats, can provide Speaker Boehner with a way around the tea party. [My emphasis.] In order to avoid a dead end on these budget talks, he should abandon the tea party and work to find a bipartisan consensus.”

Schumer knows weakness when he sees it. The Boehner-Cantor-McCarthy axis does not have the political courage to get serious about cutting the budget. No doubt, they are nice guys who mean well, but nice and good intentions are not what we need right now.

The fact is that they all suffer from that haunting thought that has long dominated the decisions of a majority of Republicans: “We must show Democrats we are reasonable, civil people who are willing to compromise.”

Few Republicans ever get over this emotional hang-up, so it’s up to voters to be merciful and remove them from office. It’s time for a majority of Republicans to think long and hard about that memorable line from the prison warden in “Cool Hand Luke”: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

We can all focus on how criminal and outrageous those on the left are, but it won’t do us one bit of good. Why? Because they don’t care! Regardless of what we think or say, they will continue their nefarious ways.

When I think of today’s Democrats, the images that come to mind are thugs crawling through windows at the capitol building in Madison and legislators hiding out in an Illinois motel in a childish, desperate effort to prevent the will of the voters from being carried out.

The only way change can come about is to keep voting compromise-afflicted Republicans out of office and replace them with citizen politicians who are proud and eager to say “No!” to government spending. If tea-party candidates don’t overwhelm both the House and Senate in 2012 and invoke the will of those who put them in office, it will be time to begin laying the foundation for a third party.

The task of a tea-party dominated House and Senate in 2013 will be to prove that they finally got the voters’ message. And to do that, their first order of business should be to attack and overwhelm Obama at every turn or, if he should get tossed out on his ear by voters, do the same to any new Republican president who opts for the status quo.

The fresh faces in Congress must make it clear to Republicans who still don’t get it that half of the country wants all unconstitutional government programs shut down – which means most government programs! They’re not interested in CRs, a series of $4-6 billion mini-budget cuts or “adult conversations.” They want an all-out fight for freedom in Congress, and they want it now.

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