HONOLULU, November 3, 2014 – The late Iraqi cult-of-personality dictator Saddam Hussein is credited with having observed that “politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said nor what you intended.” For conservatives in America, the Republican Party has been a string of broken promises, endless disappointments and unintended chaotic consequences ever since Ronald Reagan left office.
When Democrat Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, conservative blowback to the liberal president led to the 1994 Contract With America and a sweep of Congress with a fresh bumper crop majority of Republicans. Despite fiscally hawkish promises to rollback Democratic policies and a hyperpartisan roadmap for reform, under GOP majority both the national debt and government spending continued to surge and despite occasional visual outbursts and Clinton still sailed to a re-election in 1996.
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008 gave rise to the modern Tea Party movement and invigorated conservative media outlets, resulting in a surge of massive conservative/libertarian rallies all around the nation. During the 2010 midterms, a wave of freshmen rode conservative outrage into Congress, but later their voting bite was demonstrated to be nowhere near as their campaign barking as the Club For Growth blasted them in its 2012 scorecard, writing “What we found was that while some freshmen have lived up to the promises they made to the Tea Party movement, dozens of them are big-spenders … In many cases, the rhetoric of the so-called ‘Tea Party’ freshmen simply didn’t match their records.”
Republicans love to talk about how President Obama and Senator Reid have “obstructed” reform. That’s not obstruction. Real obstruction is the fact that every time conservatives have needed Republicans to vote conservative, there is always a Republican who sides with the Democrats and kills chances of reform.
When one looks at deep-blue Democratically controlled states like Hawaii, their Democratic congressional delegation can be trusted to consistently vote liberal. By contrast, even the most red Republican states like Texas and others are rife with congressmen who flip flop and ride the fence on many key conservative issues. Say what you will about liberals, but the liberal voter gets more reliability and legislative action from their Democrats than conservatives do from Republicans. The new rule of thumb for Republican congressional candidates and the scores of prospective candidates-in-wait filling the GOP these days is “Anyone who runs for office is a closet liberal; anyone who doesn’t run is a very well-disciplined liberal!”
When conservatives send Republicans to Capitol Hill, they get a “strong conservative” on Election Day who, in office, can’t be trusted to resist voting with the Democrats. When called out the first time, these Republicans rebrand themselves from “strong conservatives” to “balanced moderates.” If their pattern of betrayal continues, the next midterm cycle they pitch themselves as “independents who represent everyone” – ‘tis ever was the history of a Republican congressman.
So which is worse? Promising to be a liberal and proving to be a hardcore liberal once elected or using promises of tax cuts, economic reform and better government to conservatives that later prove to be empty lies? How ridiculous is it that Republicans pitch to voters in blue states pleas that “voting the same way every time and expecting a different result is insanity” yet they themselves can’t be trusted to vote any different than the Democrats?
The job of every voter is to make a determination whether or not the candidates on the ballot are trustworthy and ready for service. There used to be a time in America where people were told the disappointing – but instructive – judgment “you’re not ready yet.” Someone needs to tell the Republican Party that with their current lineup of squishy moderates, unreliable voting records and inability to deliver results they’re not ready for the privilege of leading the United States of America in Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils or anywhere else they raise their heads. As the Filipino nationalist José Rizal wrote, “the glory of saving a country is not for him who contributed to its ruin.”
Jesus said “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Parties are designed to be procedural cartels meant to overcome through legislative loyalty limitations of the political system to deliver reform. There is no point to a party that doesn’t vote consistently with its stated principles. If Republicans are lukewarm in voting loyalty, maybe the real party for getting things done may just be the Democrats … and that’s a scary thought.
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