Cooperation or Capitulation? We Must Put The Speaker On Notice
Some months ago, before I began to see the election through red-colored glasses and began to believe that a Romney-Ryan victory was possible, I looked with worry over the political landscape that would greet us in Obama’s second term. More to the point, I cautioned that we would need to watch our Speaker very carefully, and be ready to shore up his spine if he began to lose it.
In September, I noted that the Democrat Party and the mainstream media were laying the foundation for a major GOP capitulation on the debt ceiling. Ten days later, it became clear that some in the GOP were buying into their narrative. Of course, back in September, the picture (amazingly) looked brighter than it does today. While Todd Akin had already gone full speed ahead into the torpedo that was his mouth, I couldn’t anticipate that Mourdock would do the same—or that in Wisconsin, a woman slightly to the left of Marx would beat Tommy Thompson, and that miserable candidates in Montana and North Dakota would cost us three easy pickups. I never imagined we’d be losing seats in the Senate, instead of gaining them.
All that means, of course, is that the Speaker is all the more power—a not entirely pleasant prospect, given his history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and placing it in a box under a bow and calling it a gift to conservative principles. Now, as the fruits of one of his greatest failures—begin to ripen, we conservatives must rally the base and make it clear that while cooperation with Obama will be accepted, capitulation to him will not.
Already, the Speaker looks wobbly. Less than twenty-four hours after (correctly) noting that the American people have given the President absolutely no mandate to raise taxes given the GOP’s continued iron-gripped hold over the House he is now backpedaling. Now, new and higher taxes have been placed right back on the table… so long as they are under the “right conditions.” Of course, this staggering step backwards comes right as Senator Harry Reid is announcing that on the one hand, he will do all he can to limit the influence of the GOP Senate caucus by exercising some version of the nuclear option, while on the other hand, he feels he has a mandate to raise taxes.
The Speaker has shown strength in the past, only to act weakly—the debt ceiling debacle and the looming sequestration cuts speak loudly and clearly to his failures to stand up to the President and to Harry Reid. We cannot allow the “fiscal cliff” to be the vehicle which the Speaker uses to drive our Country into an era of more debt, greater spending, and higher taxes.
It is on us, then—grassroots conservatives—to make our voices heard. Last night in my RedState diary, I asked the question “where do we go from here?” The answer, apparently, was east enough to find: we go back to work. We make it clear to our Representatives in the House that we expect our leadership to back strong, conservative solutions to debt, taxes and spending. We must make it clear to our Senators that the failures of Richard Mourdock do NOT mean that we will fail to remove through primary challenges those Senators who embrace spending and high taxes. We must support Grover Norquist and hold the GOP firm to their pledges on taxes.
Folks, we’ve lost one fight, but another fight is coming. We’ve lost at the polls, but that doesn’t mean that we must lose in governing. Going over the fiscal cliff would, indeed, be awful. But raising taxes, increasing the debt, and only superficially cutting spending—which we saw in Speaker Boehner’s last two “deals” with the President---would be much, much worse than tumbling over it.