The Takeaway on Toomey-Manchin
Well, actually, there are two takeaways. The second has to do with the unstoppable force of conservatives coalescing around principled, winning issues, but I’ll discuss that later.
The governing class (and its sycophant beltway scribes) thrive on slapping designer labels on awful legislation. Kennedy, Feingold, McCain, and, natch, even Feinstein would have to be on that list. Much of it skates by on eponymous reputation. But lately, not so much. The reputations are not staked on the names of the great thinkers or statesman. (This is where my perpetual rant about Jim DeMint’s drumming out of the Senate comes in.) No, those names are applied to Trojan Horse bills of all stripes, with the intent to sell the underlying garbage to the press and low information voters. Do you doubt me? Observe that most of these disasters are negotiated in secret, then trotted out quickly with few, if any hearings, and quickie floor votes. We’re to believe that if they are good enough for NRA-friendly moderates like Manchin, can flip conservatives like Toomey, or mavericks like McCain, the votes will follow like sheep. Lindsey Graham is not bashful about expressing his aversion to bills being batted around for two weeks.
The Party That Could Not Shoot Straight with supermajorities fell flat on its face buying and shaming its way into bipartisanship. The Second Amendment won. Gun grabbers lost.
Which brings me to immigration.
Many conservatives feel railroaded into supporting immigration which they contend neither benefits the country or the viability of their party, in no particular order. Let’s leave McCain out of it for the moment, but let’s consider that Marco Rubio has been offered up as some sort of counterweight to Chuck Schumer. In other words, Rubio has been drafted to put a friendly face on the aspects of this bill which are acceptable to Schumer, and hence no conservative could accept. The “good faith” of Marco Rubio is being sold to get you to accept the “good faith” of Chuck Schumer. Do you buy it?
It’s useful to deconstruct the great victory achieved in protecting Second Amendment rights, and contrast it with, oh, the drubbing Republicans took under the siege of Obamacare’s passage. There are still nagging vestiges of “less of the same” sentiments on the center right, some squeamishness to repeal it outright and smash it like a bug. It’s also instructive to look at upcoming fights with which conservatives will become embroiled. There is little conservatives are coalescing around when it comes to immigration and gay marriage. They’re fractious issues we’re being told we must lead on. The Right to Life, on the other hand, is building notable momentum as a consensus builder among the right of center.
Personalities are no substitute for leadership on issues. Leadership stands a chance to heal fractiousness. Personalities slapped on doomed issues with ill-conceived solutions stand no chance of winning. The left found that out the hard way with guns, and the right will suffer the same fate on immigration, if it spends good faith on bad populist misdirection.