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The Crusade to Cave

I feel like a broken record, but it is just very hard to give some people the benefit of the doubt. It is one thing after another, day after day. House Republican Leaders are on a crusade to cave with the President.

Never mind that in the opinion of nearly every main stream political analyst the President is on the ropes. My inbox is flooded with news articles about his declining popularity in blue states and the aftermath of this week’s GOP special election victories. But House Republicans modus operandi is still to avoid the fight.

This week, it was their insistence on a continuing resolution (CR) at levels far above the Paul Ryan-House passed budget in order to align with the bad debt deal they passed earlier in the year (because they were unwilling to fight). Then it was their shadiness in passing a six-month highway extension at levels far above the same Paul Ryan-House passed budget without a roll-call vote. They’re only now beginning to criticize the President’s new stimulus plan such that the President’s only glimmer of hope is that the public still doesn’t know how bad or unworkable it is. Why? Because Republicans are afraid of being the party of no. I thought we put that meme to bed last year.

And now we find that tucked into the recently unveiled CR is the provision to bail out the Postal Service, which I wrote about yesterday. Who knows what else is in there.

The bailout is terrible policy, and it completely cuts the legs out from under Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee. (Whatever happened to deferring to committee chairmen?) But what is most troubling is what it illustrates about the state of Congressional Republicans.

They are fundamentally in their DNA unwilling to fight. Every day they have opportunities big and small to educate the public of needed reforms and ways to limit government, but if it distracts them from their pre-cooked, poll-tested “jobs” agenda in the least, then the default position must be to avoid it like the plague.

Conservative activists are not idiots. We can figure out that Republicans control only the House, and that some compromise is necessary. However, this is what we also know. House Republicans are not fighting because they know they don’t have it in them—they know they will cave eventually, so they might as well do it on the front end and lower the political stakes. Better that than risk a public backlash when the night terror of their dreams—the bully pulpit of the White House (such as it is, even with this President)—gets louder and louder with each hour of the increasing brinksmanship needed to win. Conservative activists don’t demand success. We do demand Congressmen who aren’t afraid of the night.

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