As I finish this column, John Boehner has just been re-elected as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Yet by supporting the utterly false and deceitful deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff,” Boehner betrayed everything the Republican Party is supposed to stand for, as he has repeatedly done throughout his tenure as speaker. He, Paul Ryan and the 83 other so-called Republicans who voted for the deal betrayed the voters who re-elected a GOP majority in the House, just as they betrayed the voters who restored the GOP to control of the House in 2010; just as they had repeatedly betrayed the voters who finally turned against them in 2006, fed up with results that definitively reneged on the promises of the so-called “Contract with America” in 1996.
To avert attention from the intense anger Boehner’s betrayal has stirred throughout the GOP’s conservative base, the elitist faction focused on the concocted tale of ire directed at Boehner by Obama Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie and New York Rep. Peter King were supposedly infuriated because Boehner postponed a vote on a bill that provides $60 billion in federal funds purportedly aimed at helping with recovery efforts in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The bill is dressed with a compassionate label that provides cover for the usual “pork” stuffing (i.e., funds for projects unrelated to the bill’s stated purpose). But what’s truly noteworthy is that the new spending in this one bill amounts to a tenth (that one year’s worth) of the $600 billion the “fiscal cliff” deal is supposed to generate over the next 10 years. The politicians voting for the fiscal deal promise spending cuts down the road that will never materialize. But the new revenue the deal will supposedly generate from “taxing the rich” is right away being deployed on new spending to fund their political payoffs. Boehner was right to fear that the scheduled juxtaposition of votes would draw attention to the agenda of cynical ambition the orgy of debt and spending really serves.
Of course, Boehner, Ryan and the other forsworn Republicans want us to believe that they acted courageously to avert a disaster. In fact, they acted cynically to manipulate a crisis of their own making. In the process they gave credence to the pernicious “class warfare” lie that higher income tax rates for the rich will produce anything close to enough revenue to change the fatal course of economic ruin that has already subverted America’s strength. In their justifiable anger, some people are heeding the sly voices that advise them to focus on punishing these political malefactors by mounting primary challenges against them in the next election cycle.
If their betrayal was simply a matter of their individual judgment, corruption or incompetence, maybe we could take this advice at face value. But their actions are consistent with the pattern of leadership in the GOP for well over a decade. This suggests an agenda that goes beyond individuals, one that reflects an understanding of politics fundamentally at odds with what the Republican Party claims to be. In its platform the GOP pretends to respect the U.S. Constitution. It pretends to embrace the principled understanding of politics in light of which America’s founders framed the Constitution and argued for its adoption. According to that understanding, the aim of government is justice, understood first of all as security for people determined to exercise their God-endowed unalienable rights.
This aim of government gave rise to and justified the premise of just politics in America, which is that the laws and actions of government must be based on the consent of the people, ascertained and implemented by a political process that seeks to represent, rather than by force to dominate, the righteous will and judgment of the people. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the proximate cause of the Americas Revolution was not (as some these days pretend) oppressive taxation. It was taxation without regard for the principle of representation.
Leftist ideologues like Obama, who have more and more openly dominated the Democratic Party for decades, in one way or another reject the premise of representation as the goal of the political process. Insofar as they believe that politics serves any transcendent purposes, those purposes authorize government actions as necessary, regardless of the will and judgment of the people. History, as Obama has said, will be the judge. Politics is therefore all about the interplay and relative power of the forces that determine history. People on the right side of history will triumph. Those on the wrong side will be crushed and cast aside. The best course of action is the one that avoids being crushed, by whatever means necessary.
Republicans pretend to reject this view, which has inevitably produced an oppressive party and other dictatorships, however falsely disguised (as the Soviet government was) in the trappings of representative government. But the GOP leadership has for some years produced results that strongly suggest that the Party is now controlled by forces who have embraced the view that politics is about getting and keeping control of power. This makes them in effect no different than the leftist ideologues they pretend to oppose. This convergence in principle has now produced its predictable result. The GOP leadership has become the tail on the Democrat dog. Wagged this way and that they follow along in a cynical, “bipartisan” dance of power, without regard for the people who are committed to securing and exercising their rights, the people the GOP is supposed to represent.
Are you one of those people? If so, in the vote on the “fiscal cliff” deal, you stood behind the 151 GOP members (three-fifths of the GOP majority) whose votes were nullified by the systematic treachery John Boehner serves and represents. Behind the façade of America’s currently meaningless electoral process, John Boehner and the others who serve in the GOP wing of the elitist faction have agreed to form a coalition government with Obama and the Democrats. Whether on fiscal issues, issues of moral principle like respect for the God-endowed family and perhaps even issues of constitutional survival like Second Amendment rights, the elitist faction coalition government leaves Americans loyal to the understanding and principles of republican self-government without representation.
This has in fact been the case for many years. It will go on being the case, with results fatal to America’s liberty, as long as principled conservatives continue to delude and betray themselves with the notion that there’s no hope for politics outside the GOP. The GOP’s systematic betrayals now reflect the fact that the Party is controlled by forces that have joined the Democrats in abandoning the understanding of politics liberty requires. Boehner purged conservative congressional leaders who refused to form a coalition government with Obama. He has broken with those who represent the majority of the GOP’s constituency. His re-election as speaker is conclusive proof that he and the elitist clique he serves intend to push Americans loyal to the founding vision of righteous liberty off the cliff of history.
The GOP has become the political vehicle in which this power-mad elitist clique gathers the conservatives who are willing to be used by the elitist faction to legitimize the political sham behind which they mean to sell out and shutter liberty’s house once and for all. Then, like disposable cameras, the duped conservatives will be thrown away, along with the liberty they profess to cherish, yet fear truly to serve. But for this faithless fear, they would get out of the GOP now. It’s late, but not too late. For America’s liberty will likely be saved in the same way it was first established: against the odds but surely, by the Providence of God.