This is no time to go wobbly, Republicans. President Obama's horrifying failure in Syria has left him dazed and adrift. He shuffled onstage within hours of a deadly shooting rampage in D.C. to launch tone-deaf slashing partisan attacks on Republicans, leading even a number of mainstream media cheerleaders to nervously fumble with their pom-poms and wonder what the hell he was thinking. I notice a few of them are muttering about how the blame-Bush stuff has passed its expiration date, too.
One of the big reasons Obama is looking unsteady on his feet is the albatross of ObamaCare, which pins up another failure notice just about every day. The public still doesn't like it. Everyone with political clout is demanding (and receiving) a carve-out. The ominous rumblings of damage to not just medical insurance, but medicine, grow louder. Millions of taxpayer dollars were seized and wasted on propaganda campaigns to "educate" the public about the Affordable Care Act, and the popularity needle barely budged. Just imagine what the repeal movement could accomplish if they were able to raid the public treasury to set up slush funds for their favorite "public interest" groups!
Rasmussen has a new poll out that shows 51 percent of the public is willing to shut down the government, if that's what it takes to cut spending and bring health care costs under control. At the very least, this shows there is fertile ground for an insurrection. People know Obama's approach isn't working. They're tired of him, and after the Syrian debacle, even some Democrats are starting to resent him. That includes Democrats in office, who aren't wild about suffering voter wrath in 2014 to protect him. To paraphrase now-Secretary of State John Kerry, who wants to be the last Democrat to die at the polls for a mistake?
Voters only show up for battle at the polls if someone is sounding the horns. The great danger facing Republicans is the lack of enthusiasm that sabotaged their last presidential race. People won't rally to the banner of the "We'll Fight Next Time, Or Maybe the Time After That, We Swear" GOP establishment. Bloodless capitulation and insincere rhetoric don't move hearts and minds. If the Republican Party claims ObamaCare is awful, but they won't do anything to stop it when they've got a chance, they look like losers. If they won't stand up for the Constitutional separation of powers, there's not much of an argument for giving them more representation in Congress. Bold words demand bold action.
Perhaps the GOP leadership could learn something from watching Vladimir Putin grab Obama by the trousers and eject him from the Middle East. The Administration failed to back its words with means and determination. Syria policy was fumbled from gaffe to gaffe, following no long-term strategy except Obama's political convenience. He babbled about chemical weapons "red lines" because he didn't want to explain why a hundred thousand dead from conventional weapons didn't merit intervention. He couldn't understand why the American people, and their representatives, wouldn't let him shoot off a few missiles, claim victory, and crank up his flagging poll numbers a notch or two. He was utterly flummoxed when the Russians ran with John Kerry's gaffe and scored a touchdown. Then he could only fume in silence as Putin wrote a New York Times op-ed that threw his own rhetoric on everything from the U.N. to American exceptionalism right back in his face.
Don't be Obama in Syria, Republican leaders. Don't negotiate yourselves into a corner before the other side has a chance to say a word. Don't underestimate the tide of public opinion swelling beneath your political surfboards.
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) has introduced a resolution that would fund the government for the next year, except for ObamaCare. He makes the point that since so much of the Affordable Care Act has already been dumped, delayed, or waived for favored special interests, there's no reason to fund any of it, at least until after the employer mandate kicks in. People respond to arguments like that. And the Democrats probably are not eager to find themselves holding the Government Shutdown Hot Potato, if confronted with a budget resolution that puts them on the defensive.
Of course, the Democrats and their media allies would try to rewrite the story and shriek that Republicans are still the shutdown devils. It's going to be a tough fight. But what is to be gained by surrendering before it starts? It's long past time Big Government was put on defense. For far too long, the American people have been confronted by an in-your-face aggressive ruling class, which requires them to justify every scrap of liberty they retain. Every time a maniac shoots someone, the rest of us are judged unworthy of our Second Amendment rights. Every time the government's finances look especially shaky, the private sector is put on trial for "greed." Every industry in America is micro-regulated into paralysis... except the abortion industry, where a drowsy inspector breezing through the clinic once every decade or so is more than enough supervision. Business owners and employees are not allowed to reach mutually agreeable terms for employment, which naturally results in far less employment - a state of affairs that seems endlessly confusing to the people who claim they can run every business in America better than its owners.
We're supposed to be a proud people with a humble government, not a beaten mob of peasants who wince in terror every time the ruling class lectures us about something else we're doing wrong. ObamaCare is a highly visible, highly vulnerable symbol of Big Government arrogance. How can honest Republicans build the rest of their case against the Leviathan State when they don't even have the courage to pull out one of its abscessed teeth? How can any congressional representative speak seriously about fiscal sanity while allowing a deficit-blasting fiscal disaster to keep rolling? How can any Republican speak with conviction about the power of economic liberty, and the importance of a vibrant economy, while passing up a chance to shut down a job-killing machine like ObamaCare?
People notice the lack of conviction, and failures of logic, conveyed by such timidity. One of the reasons so many people vote for messianic Big Government evangelists like Barack Obama is the credit they receive for sincerity. They want that next thousand pages of regulation, that next billion dollars in taxes, that next trillion dollars of spending so badly they can taste it. Desire burns hot in their eyes. There is no such inspiring passion in a Republican leadership that seems ready to bargain away the last remaining shreds of fiscal restraint from the ridiculous Budget Control Act of 2011, let alone press their case for freedom and fiscal sanity. Do they even believe that freedom and fiscal sanity are related?
I would argue they are one and the same. A government that spends piles of money it doesn't have is seizing power it shouldn't have. Today's vote-buying schemes curdle into demands tomorrow's taxpayers will be told they cannot refuse. The cancer of ObamaCare goes terminal when it metastasizes into a bloated welfare program. It might not matter how badly the rest of it fails, if the part that sends out checks is working.
I'm tired of politicians running around and talking about how they'll "fight" for this or that, especially since the "fighting" in question always boils down to Big Government slamming some politically disfavored group of law-abiding citizens to the mat and treating them to a confiscatory ground-and-pound beating. It's time for the forces of liberty to do some fighting. The failures of our adversaries are many and manifest. We have the Constitution on our side. It's time to climb out of those trenches and retake some ground.