Early in November, following the somewhat legally questionable re-election of President Barack Hussein Obama, speaker of the House and opposition party leader John Boehner uttered the following
“Mr. President, this is your moment. We’re ready to be led not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans. We want you to lead not as a liberal or a conservative, but as the president of the United States of America. We want you to succeed. Let’s challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.”
America is at a dangerous crossroads. If the Republican Party, just elected to a second straight majority in the House – the most representative of the actual political balance in the U.S., due to its organization around localized districts and not states – has abdicated its constitutional and moral obligation to fight for the majority of Americans who elected them, why even have a second party? Why not simply give up? Why resist? Let’s accept the entire Obama agenda. Swallow it whole and swallow it now. “Change it and rearrange it,” as our children now sing in school. “Obama’s gonna save the world,” the song goes. Let’s do it. Why wait? The new order has arrived.
Or has it? America has been here before: with former President William Jefferson Clinton. Few remember President Clinton’s lackluster first term, as it was overshadowed with the dot-com bubble that resulted from the proliferation of the Internet, as well as a drop in unemployment to less than 4 percent, the first time this had occurred in almost a century. What few remember is that these positive economic changes were the result of policies put in place by the newly elected Republican Congress in 1994, elected in response to the stagnation of Clinton’s first term. (Clinton increased marginal income tax rates in 1993, and the economy contracted, along with federal revenues. Not a very logical move in the wake of the savings and loan crisis.)
After the Republicans passed the Contract with America, taxes on investors were lowered dramatically, and entrepreneurs were incentivized to pursue the opportunities of the new era, epitomized by the Web. Venture capitalists led the charge, the stock market hit 10,000 for the first time, and working families saw their average income leap.
Republicans also introduced and succeeded in passing the Welfare Reform Act, which gave single mothers on welfare a pathway back into the workforce.
Where was Bill Clinton in all of this? He had a “mandate” after his re-election. Why didn’t he stop these evil tax reductions for the “wealthy” (that coincidentally lowered unemployment and spawned significant growth)? The answer is a name: Newt Gingrich. Newt, as speaker of the House, personified what it means to “lead” the opposition party. He knew Republican policies were the right polices; there is no room for relativism when dealing with the livelihood of millions of Americans. Gingrich didn’t pretend moral equivalence with the Democrats. He knew we were better and had better ideas, and said so. President Clinton refused to give ground, and a budget was not passed. What broke the ominous “gridlock” railed about by the mainstream media today? Answer: Gingrich blinked last.
Gingrich allowed a government shutdown in 1995, withstood the predictable media manipulation of public perception, and ultimately and credibly laid the blame on Slick Willy, who finally came to the table. Agreement was reached on cuts to the capital gains tax rate, which spurred investment, and a deal was achieved on welfare reform that satisfied the Democratic constituency and also provided a means back into the work force for those hopelessly dependent on government. The safety net was preserved, and those who were able went back to work. Modern analysis classifies these achievements as the result of “bipartisanship,” a word no one in Washington seems to really comprehend.
Obama’s definition consists of, “We won,” and in that, he may be closer to the actual definition than many might think. How is this so?
Bipartisanship comes when one side stands its ground, not when both sides play footsie. If it works for the bad guys, it most certainly will work for us. Our principles are the right ones; our solutions are the ones that work. Why not stand our ground for what is right?
Republicans should be emboldened, not incapacitated, by the 2012 election results. Obama committed serious crimes to regain office. We should be outraged, not timid.
We control the House. In our illustrious president’s words, “We won.” We should act like it.
Neville Chamberlain responded to the brazen ascendancy of Adolf Hilter with the tepid words, never forgotten, “Peace in our time.” Chamberlain soon received a figurative bloody nose from Winston Churchill, whose courage in the face of evil was palpable. It was Churchill, when his nation was under daily siege and children had to leave their families – retreating into the countryside – who would speak the words:
“You ask what is our policy? I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!”
For the sake of America’s survival in the face of suicidal economic and military policies, weak-kneed Republicans need to receive the same treatment as Neville Chamberlain – get out of the way, or get to work.
In short, this is not a parliamentary system wherein we all swear allegiance to the king and kiss his ring. This is a democratic republic, where differences are the point.
The Republicans are the opposition party to the current regime. We are the majority in the House. And we are right.
Mr. Boehner must get to work, or get out of the way.