Political Hay

It Can Be Done

Freshman congressman Tim Huelskamp makes himself plain.

By 3.15.11

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"This is so not the end. This is what makes people more determined and makes them dig in."
-- Wisconsin protester Judy Gump, a 45-year-old English teacher at Madison Memorial High School, last Saturday

Judy Gump has it right.

Liberal she may be. But she gets it.

This is decidedly not the end. It most assuredly isn't even the beginning.

Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp gets it as well. Huelskamp, a freshman Republican, is in the news for his announcement on Friday that he will vote against the proposal being pushed by some senior House Republicans that would fund the federal government for three more weeks.

The vote is scheduled for today.

Said the gutsy freshman in his statement:

We were elected to make bold changes to federal spending and to reverse our unsustainable deficits. By allowing President Obama and Senator Reid to stall a budget they should have completed 6 months ago, we are being distracted from even bigger tasks: tackling the $1.1 trillion deficit in the President's reckless 2012 budget and negotiating real budget reform, such as a balanced budget amendment, within a debt ceiling debate.

Additionally, this CR omits many of the priorities the American people demanded we pass in H.R. 1: stopping job-killing EPA regulations, defunding Obamacare, and denying taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and abortion. By allowing continued funding of these liberal priorities, we are ignoring the mandate of the American people.

Now.

What are we really seeing here in what some may regard as nothing more than a rambunctious freshman congressman taking on the elders of his own party? And what exactly has liberal unionist teacher Judy Gump, marching around in the cold of Wisconsin with 100,000 liberals to protest Governor Scott Walker and the Republican legislature's victory on collective bargaining for public employees, pinpointed with a crystal clear accuracy that seems to be lost even on some conservatives?

This is indeed a political war, as the albeit hilariously hypocritical Michael Moore has recently stated. Said the man who has made himself very rich by exploiting working class Americans (take a look here for a behind the scenes look at Michael Moore and what he really thinks of working class Americans): "This is war. This is class war that has been leveled against working class people in America."

This war -- a war in reality that is decidedly against freedom, liberty and capitalism, a war against private property and individual rights, all of which are at the core of the success of the American "working class" -- is not new. It has been formally declared since at least the French Revolution in 1789, gaining strength in America as the industrial age of the late 19th and early 20th centuries picked up speed with the amusingly misnamed "progressive movement" and in various ports of call around the globe, from Russia to China to Europe to Latin America and more.

It is fought in various fashions, employing a good many methods that have at their core not simply the threat of violence but all too frequently violence itself. Whether beheading a French King in January of 1793 or shooting a President of the United States in November of 1963, whether bombing the University of Wisconsin in the Madison, Wisconsin of 1970 or trashing the State Capitol in the Madison, Wisconsin of 2011 while threatening both Wisconsin businesses and state legislators the objective is always some version of the same thing.

In the France of the 1790s those who sipped from this cup were called Jacobins. Then as now those who paraded under this banner saw themselves as an elite minority of virtue. Entitled, in the words of the late Irish writer and statesman Conor Cruise O'Brien, "by their superior moral character, courage, and abilities to rule over the rest of the people, for their own good."

At the extreme end of this so-called virtue as it made its way through the centuries from 18th century France to 20th century Russia or Germany or Cambodia, this meant violently expropriating or confiscating private property while imposing communism or socialism on every human being walking, individual rights and human life be damned. At the other, less toxic end of the scale, it searched for ways to interfere with your right to, as Ronald Reagan once said, "hold the deed or the title to your property" by giving government "the power of life and death over that business and property." Not to mention, in today's America, finding a way to regulate everything from your access to the toys at a San Francisco McDonald's or the salt on the table at New York restaurants.

And in the course of doing this? No penny, nickel, dime, quarter or dollar will be spared. It will be spent -- all of it. Cash or credit? Copper, nickel, silver, gold, paper or plastic? Hand it over. Spending millions? Nothing. Billions? No problem. Trillions? Who cares?

At some point in this now centuries-old journey of greed for their power and your money, more and more people began to care. As the hard core reality of the end-results of this philosophy began to be revealed -- from the broader issues of the loss of liberty to the up-close and personal discovery of just what this financially ruinous if not personally lethal trip down the dead-end road of communism-fascism-socialism-progressive-liberalism-"social justice" actually meant, a silent majority came to life. Alarmed, the majority began to understand they were being conducted down what always began as a glittering staircase that inevitably turned out to be an ugly and frightening certain path to the hell of envy followed by a tyranny induced mass poverty. And not infrequently, whether in a gulag or a British health care system -- death.

A guided tour conducted by those with a greed for personal power and money yet no accountability. The latter dollars ultimately and always necessarily forcibly provided by the targets of all this furious urge to dominate others. Not just the rich -- they are merely the bait. There aren't enough of them to satisfy this crowd. No, eventually and always the tab for all of this is presented to the hard working families of America and every other nation inhabited by more than one sentient working human soul. Mandatory union dues paid for by working class taxpayers and instantly turned over to favored politicians of the approved virtue to ensure the cycle keeps going is but the latest ruse.

WHICH BRINGS US BACK to Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp and his bold, uncomfortable and decidedly profiles-in-courage style insistence that House Republicans cease playing a game called "three weeks a day" -- and bring the latest and perhaps riskiest act of this centuries old play further to its final curtain. Which is to say: voting against the three-week Continuing Resolution and getting on with stopping the liberal agenda in its tracks.

In doing this, Huelskamp (and others -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa not the least of these) is also focusing uncomfortable attention on what is the real problem in Washington, D.C. for conservatives.

That problem: Evolution.

No, not the Darwin version of evolution. The conservative version of evolution.

The conservative problem with evolution in 2011 -- as it was when Ronald Reagan gave his famous speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964 and when a young William F. Buckley began his famous National Review magazine in 1955 with the vow that the magazine "stands athwart history, yelling Stop" -- is the idea that "evolution" for a conservative means a slow, blurry but inevitable acceptance of liberal doctrine.

To become not a conservative but a Washington conservative -- which is to say socially accepted by colleagues and the town's dominantly left social-media circle as "one of them."

Which means, for example, you can say NPR has a problem and PBS is too liberal and so vote to take a nickel or dime or two out of Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding. But to actually defund the whole enchilada? Banish the entire operation from the federal rolls and wish it Godspeed as a new star in the Huffington-Soros free enterprise world of Jacobin media outlets? To suggest dispatching, say, the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Arts or finally do what Ronald Reagan suggested in 1980 -- rid the town of entire departments like Education or Energy? So much for your Georgetown dinner invites. You are not simply unreasonable you are a Neanderthal. Washington Post Style article cleverly featuring your imbecility soon to follow. 

The defeat of the GOP Congress in 2006 was but the most recent illustration of how this game -- and it is a game -- works.

Crying revolution in the election of 1994 when led by Newt Gingrich, by 2006 the GOP members were well into evolution, drunk not only on the social-mores of the town but on billions of dollars of so-called earmarks, having long since made their peace with the Washington theory of evolution -- the alleged inevitability of liberalism.

Problem Number One today? What's different from 1994 or 1981? The end of the game is, after decades -- nay, centuries -- in sight. Reagan pushed the Soviet Union to collapse and the Iron Curtain to its ash heap. The predictable decay is eating away at Cuba and Venezuela. And at the American end of this scale, the bill for every progressive and me-too liberal lite idea is now, after decades, finally coming due.

AT A CERTAIN FINITE POINT, the idea of finding increasingly desperate methods to separate working families from their hard earned money to fund all of this -- added to the old favorites of income, property and gas taxes we are now watching the left branch out creatively to a soda tax, a Nevada sex tax (really), and a let's go-see-a movie tax -- results in America's golden goose being not only cooked but crisped. The idea of this elite minority spending the hard-earned wages snatched from waitresses in South Philly, car salesmen in Dallas and beauticians in Miami for poverty-inducing subprime mortgages and ObamaCare death panels all run by wealthy and comfortable tax-payer subsidized union bureaucrats -- not to mention raining hard-earned dollars on cowboy poetry and urine soaked images of Jesus Christ -- has ultimately failed. That certain finite point -- the $14 trillion deficit of right about now -- is finally reached or is just a trillion or two shy of being reached. Which is to say, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's famous crack about socialism finally failing because "sooner or later you run out of other people's money" is, in real time, becoming a vivid reality for millions of unemployed Americans just as they start paying close to $4 if not $5 a gallon for gas liberals insist on getting from places like Libya rather than Alaska. Thatcher's later -- is now.

The speed of that reality of national bankruptcy hitting home for good depending, one supposes, on the state of mind of the latest visiting American-debt-holding Chinese dictator of the moment. And said dictator's sufferance at the quality of the "Poached Maine Lobster, Orange Glaze Carrots and Black Trumpet Mushrooms" with "Dry Aged Rib Eye with Buttermilk Crisp Onions, Double Stuffed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach" washed down with "Quilceda Creek Cabernet 'Columbia Valley' 2005 (Washington State)" and a splash of "Poet's Leap Riesling 'Botrytis' 2008 (Washington State)" to accompany the dessert of "Old Fashioned Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream" -- all this recently served to Chinese president Hu Jintao at the White House by a suitably polite President of the United States.

Which is why Congressman Huelskamp's bold move is so significant.

Neither he nor the good citizens of Kansas who elected him are in any mood to either be or read about evolving conservative congressmen.

They want action. Now. Pronto. Get it done.

Is it hard? Of course it is. Just ask Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans in the state legislature. In facing down the Jacobins of Wisconsin these duly elected officials had their capitol building trashed and they were threatened with death. But Walker and company fought back -- and yes, this battle in Wisconsin was in fact a very big deal. There was nothing "modest" about this victory. It was a major battle fought -- and won. It ranks up there with Ronald Reagan's victory over the bullies in the air traffic control striker of 1981 and Calvin Coolidge's landmark victory over the string Boston police in 1919.

Wisconsin is a signal to Congressman Huelskamp and every House Republican, a signal perhaps best recalled by the small red and gold leather sign President Reagan kept front-and-center on his desk. It had one sentence, written exactly as follows;

It CAN be done.

That sign sat there as one allegedly Washington-wise person after another, and sometimes one evolved conservative after another, somberly walked into the Oval Office to tell Reagan he should absolutely not call the Soviets an "evil empire" or that it was bad form to demand "Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall" or that it was impossible to cut the tax rate from 70% to 28% and so on and so on and so on. Reagan, at 69 a wise man, believed none of it

What Congressman Huelskamp is doing by refusing to vote yes on a three-week Continuing Resolution is staking out a Reaganite-resistance to the siren call for conservative evolution. He is standing up as the quiet yet distinct voice that is the equivalent of a political dog whistle softly whispers in his ear in a thousand different ways every day:

"Come here Congressman…come here….come on….see the glittering stairway…come this way…be a NICE congressman and get along…."

To his lasting credit, Huelskamp is not only saying a bold "no" to America's Jacobins. Just as Scott Walker did in Wisconsin, he's standing up with a bold "yes" for the very future of America itself. He is giving courage to every conservative congressman in the same chamber who hears the same voice. A voice that at the end of the day can only be made to fade away when one focuses clearly not on going along to get along, but on Ronald Reagan's hard won wisdom, wisdom America needs to recall now more than ever:

It CAN be done.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.