A Further Perspective

Abandoned and Betrayed

Republican ship, dead in the water, needs a mutiny.

By 1.3.13

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After the McConnell sell-out and the Boehner betrayal, after the disgraceful abandonment of principles and conservative values by the Washington Republican establishment, what is the proper response from outraged conservative believers in limited government and fiscal responsibility?

I have been sitting here on the morning after the New Years’s Day capitulation by Capitol Hill Republicans, trying to answer that question for myself.

Start with feelings. I feel abandoned by the establishment Republican Party of Washington, D.C. I feel depressed that I cannot see a single conservative leader in sight who could grab the Republican Party, slap it across the face, and tell it where it can go if it does not shape up. I feel angry that Republican “leaders” in Washington put a higher value on their own survival in office than the principles they claim to stand for.

As I see it, the Republican Party is a rudderless ship that has lost its compass, dead in the water, with no captain and no destination. What this ship needs is a mutiny.

I have already begun my own little mutiny. About 10 days ago, I received a phone call from the Republican National Committee. The guy on the phone asked if I would renew my membership for 2013, for a mere $150 contribution. “No, I won’t do that,” I responded. Well, the fellow said, we understand times are tough for lots of people these days, so how about renewing for, say, $75?

“You don’t get it,” I responded. “I am not renewing for $75 nor for five bucks nor for a dime. I am done with contributions to the RNC. I donated several times in 2012, and donated to the Republican senatorial committee, and you blew an election we should have won. I am no longer going to support the army of consultants, pollsters, media advisors, and other experts who live off the RNC and who botched the election of 2012. I am done with the RNC.”

The conversation went downhill from there, but it left me with a feeling of liberation. It was my declaration of independence from the Republican establishment. I told the RNC guy that from now on, I will pick my own list of true conservative candidates and donate directly to them, not to the party.

I now consider myself a citizen without a party. Everything that Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have done in the past month has reinforced my belief that only a grass-roots revolt — a true conservative mutiny — can save the Republican Party. The party is not worth saving unless it returns to conservative values — limited government, adherence to the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and a dedication to individual liberty.

I have no hope that the leaders of the party in Washington have the vision or guts to adopt and adhere to such an agenda. They will pay it lip service, of course, but they will also go on making deals with the Democrats and President Obama to sell out those principles when it is expedient for their re-election hopes.

Only if millions of conservatives across the country withhold their money and their support for the collaborators in the capital, the nervous Neville Chamberlains of the Establishment, will there be any chance of real change in the GOP. So bring on the mutiny. There is something worse than being a person without a party. And that is being a member of a party without a soul. 

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About the Author

James P. Gannon is a retired former Wall Street Journal reporter and newspaper editor. He lives in Virginia.