The unambiguous strategy of the GOP establishment this year has been to avoid any and all confrontation in the hopes of gliding into a Senate majority in 2015. To that end, they have capitulated on all of the major leverage points, passed a number of Democrat spending bills, and are in the process of pushing “small-ball” legislation in the House so as not to rock the boat before November.
This pusillanimous strategy is predicated on the false hope that a bare-minimum Senate majority – comprised of the same Republicans who support these Democrat priorities – will somehow alter the landscape in Washington. They are misleading conservative and GOP activists into thinking that as long as the GOP can hold tight on the status quo until 2015 we will enjoy robust power to push for conservative priorities thereafter.
The reality is that nothing will change in 2015. Irrespective of the outcome in November, Republicans will control the House and have the ability to block bad legislation. On the other hand, President Obama will still be in the White House for another two years. Consequently, the addition of six more Senate seats with the current incumbent leaders and rank-and-file members will not change the legislative dynamic.
Republicans who lack the will or principles to fight on major issues will still use Obama’s obstructionism as the baseline for excuses not to advocate bold initiatives. Whether it’s a debt ceiling or a budget bill, they will fear brinkmanship with Obama as much as they do now.
What about blocking bad bills? Certainly Republicans will have the power to do so if they win back the Senate, won’t they?
Well, they already have the power to stop bad bills with control of the House, yet, time and again, we have seen a de facto Democrat super-majority in the Senate pass harmful legislation only to be rubber-stamped by the House – or at least open for consideration.
Unless we elect the right candidates for Senate, a weak GOP majority would still net enough votes to pass amnesty, an internet sales tax, omnibus bills, highway bills, or the anti-liberty “ENDA” bill.
Moreover, in some respects, these same Republicans will be even more frightened to fight for a bold conservative agenda in 2015. As much as they would have us believe that a GOP Senate-majority is the road to the Promised Land, it will be overshadowed by the presidential election the minute they take office.
If Republicans are recalcitrant to stand for anything ahead of a midterm election, imagine how fearful they will be to even stick their fingers in the wind with the White House at stake.
“Well, we can’t get anything done without the White House anyway,” they will contend. “Let’s not undermine the effort to win the presidency by picking fights with Obama.”
The entirety of the 114th Congress will be driven by fear of 2016.
Ok, but wait until 2017 when Republicans control everything. Then they will really fight for a decisive conservative agenda and will overturn every inimical policy of the Obama administration.
Maybe in some dreamland, folks.
With control of all branches of government, and the undivided responsibility that comes with such power, Republicans will be even more indisposed to roll back big government. “How can we risk losing power?”
Furthermore, let’s remember that many of the same arguments promulgated by Republicans in the minority will persist even when they are in control of the White House. These same hackneyed politicians have already agreed to the Democrat premise of default. So they will feel compelled to raise the debt ceiling even with full control of the government.
The current crew of GOP leaders has already agreed to the Democrat premise on immigration. That will not change when they are in the majority.
They have already accepted the notion of a permanent federal control over transportation and agriculture policy. That will not change when they are in power.
Republicans have made it clear that they will not publicly fight back against the growing anti-religious–liberty agenda forcing alternative lifestyles on private citizens and organizations.
In fact, these same non-leaders tend to be at their best specifically when they are in the minority. The allurement of power only moves them to the left when they are the majority party in Washington.
Hence, whether we are talking about 2015, 2017, or well beyond, there is never an end-game for these politicians. The pursuit of power over principle; the quest for authority for its own sake is a circuitous cycle of failure.
The only way to end the failed cycle of politics is to change the way we approach primaries. This year would be a great time to start.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project