There’s light at the end of the Obama tunnel.
Conservatives are still glum about the election, and the upper hand President Obama seems to have over Republicans. But the political stage has been framed far worse for conservatives and Republicans in the past.
In 1964, conservatives and Republicans were annihilated, when the conservative leader Barry Goldwater was crushed in the election by more than 20 points. Democrats held 295 House seats to 140 for the Republicans, and in the Senate, Democrats held a filibuster proof 67 seats, to 33 for the Republicans. This just 19 years after FDR had dominated American politics for a generation. The Republicans seemed dead, and conservatives were a disfavored minority within the Republican Party, distrusted as sure losers.
But in 1966, Republicans gained 47 House seats, and 3 in the Senate. Two years later, Richard Nixon won the White House, and was reelected in 1972 in an historic landslide, winning all but one state (Massachusetts).
By 1974, the Republicans seemed routed again. Watergate had forced Nixon to resign in disgrace, and the Republicans were annihilated again in the 1974 midterm elections. The Democrats gained 49 House seats, leading the Republicans 291 to 144, almost all the way back to 1964. Democrats gained 3 seats in the Senate, to lead the Republicans 60 to 38, with one Conservative Party Senator from New York, and one independent. In 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter won back the White House from 8 years of Republican control.
But that was just a prelude to the Reagan domination of American politics for a generation, 24 years, after that. And during this time up until Reagan’s election, there was no Fox News, no conservative talk radio, no Internet and conservative blogosphere, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page did not blossom until the late 1970s.
Moreover, Republicans and conservatives only lost the 2012 election because millions of conservative voters stayed home, uninspired by the Northeast liberal Romney. This column tried to alert the public about that problem, in an offering entitled “RINO Romney Is the Least Electable.” But the Republicans still held the House majority, and hold complete control in 25 states with both the Governor and majorities in the legislature to only 14 for the Democrats.
Now Republicans and conservatives are on the comeback trail again. Suddenly, the upcoming issues do not favor Obama. And believe it or not, congressional Republicans are playing these issues right.
First up — the Sequester. If the Republicans do nothing, $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years in spending cuts from the baseline (what we were going to spend on our current course), go into effect. That includes $600 billion in defense spending Republicans and conservatives don’t want to cut, and $600 billion in domestic spending cuts Republicans and conservatives do want.
The Republicans can handle that – doing nothing. They should let the sequester spending cuts go into effect, and come back passing the full defense appropriations needed in the House, daring President Obama and the Democrats to fail to provide adequately for the nation’s defenses.
And Praise the Lord, that seems to be precisely what the Republicans are going to do, let the sequester spending cuts go into effect.
Republicans also have the upper hand under the Continuing Resolutions (CR) that are now provide for federal spending. The current CR runs out on March 31, which means there will be a government shutdown then unless a new CR authorizes further spending. This gives the Republicans the leverage to impose a federal spending freeze on federal discretionary spending.
The House again should not negotiate over a new CR. They should just pass a CR providing for the continuation of the exact same spending levels for the next 6 months as in the prior CR, which just continued the same spending levels of the prior year. They can say that with trillion dollar plus deficits continuing now into the fifth year under President Obama, America cannot afford spending increases, which will nevertheless continue unabated for entitlement spending, which requires legislation just to reduce the growth in spending, let alone just holding spending constant.
Then the Republican leadership should hit the microphones with the message that their CR does not include any spending cuts. It just continues the exact same spending as in the past, and that is only for discretionary spending, with no change to entitlement spending. This will nullify Obama’s rhetoric that the Republicans are abandoning starving children and disabled seniors. And the Republicans must call him out for dishonesty if he continues with that foolish, irresponsible rhetoric, and the same for anyone else who echoes it. Conservatives need to step up and pound away on these points as well.
The message needs to also include the point that if President Obama and the Democrats disagree with the federal discretionary spending freeze, and want to spend more, they can specify what they want to spend by passing their own CR through the Senate. Then the House Republicans and the Senate Democrats can settle their differences in the House Senate Conference Committee. This will force the Democrats to clarify for everyone to see that the real dispute is that they want to increase spending more. If the Democrats want to argue that refusing to increase spending is a cut to spending, the Democrats can explain their baseline budgeting lies to the public
This means no more negotiations behind closed doors at the White House. I am not saying the Republicans should refuse to talk to President Obama. But they need to act through the legislative process, as specified in the Constitution. If the Democrats want to spend more, they can specify what they want by passing their own CR through the Senate, and taking it to a House Senate Conference Committee. That is the legislative process specified in law, not closed-door negotiations at the White House. See your high school civics textbook. If the Democrats don’t act, then any government shutdown will clearly be their fault.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?