Call it a Reykjavik Moment.
An Air Traffic Controllers Moment.
Both of which were Reagan Moments.
Moments in American history when, under extreme pressure, Ronald Reagan simply refused to buckle. Against all the chorus shouted from the media and congressional bleachers -- that he had failed by walking out on a bad deal with Gorbachev or recklessly fired striking air traffic controllers who were striking against federal law -- Ronald Reagan never blinked.
And the fact that he didn’t blink made America -- and the world -- an infinitely better place.
Thursday night 13 conservative House Republicans defeated the Rule for the vote on Speaker Boehner’s highly controversial “Plan B.”
Those conservatives, by name (an asterisk denoting those who will not be returning to Congress next year) are:
Justin Amash of MI
Paul Broun of GA
Trent Franks of AZ
Louie Gohmert of TX
Tim Huelskamp of KS
Walter Jones of NC
Jim Jordan of OH
Andy Harris of MD
Jeff Landry of LA*
Thomas Massie of KY
Ron Paul of TX*
Jean Schmidt of OH*
Joe Walsh of IL*
Let’s not forget here that in terms of pressure, a great deal of it was coming from the GOP House Leadership. Congressmen Amash, Huelskamp, and Jones were removed from their committee assignments for not cooperating with the Leadership.
And make no mistake….the talk radio stars jumped on this, each in their own way. Rush was there. Hannity was there. Levin was there.
Then there was the great Brent Bozell from For America (as reported at Breitbart) pounding away just Wednesday at a Capitol Hill presser saying:
I’m going to make a prediction, right here and now, and write it down – and call me on it. If the Republicans support this tax increase, they will lose control of the House in the 2014 elections,” Bozell said.
They will lose control of the House. Not only that, but a whole lot of members who thought they were safe and who thought they could get away with this will lose in their own districts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. This is precisely what happened to them six years ago and they’ve already forgotten that message. The Republicans were tossed out of the majority when they broke their word on spending. Now they’re breaking their word again but it’s not just spending. It’s taxes on top of that. Fiscal conservatives will not stand for this. This is a terrible bill. This is a terrible box Republicans have painted themselves into, in this corner. They’ve got to try to get themselves out of it. But going for higher taxes and trying to play "Democrat-lite" is the worst possible solution and the negotiations that are going on right now between the Speaker’s office and the Obama administration is the stuff of Keystone Cops. It is embarrassing how badly this has been negotiated. Real fiscal conservatives would simply walk away from this mess.
What is the take away here?
This was a botched GOP House Leadership issue. It is exactly what happens when the governing principle is deal making and not principle.
House GOP Members began to realize that, intended or not, they were perceived as trashing the legacy of Ronald Reagan.
It is worth remembering as Washington slows momentarily for Christmas, the words of Reagan’s old friend and House ally the late Jack Kemp. On November 3, 1991 -- and I was there -- Kemp stood up at a reunion of Reagan alumni at a pre-dedication ceremony for the Reagan Library. Reagan was there as Kemp said that Reagan’s tax cuts had ignited:
…the most expansive, noninflationary economic growth and entrepreneurial revolution this country has seen in the 20th Century:
- 21 million new jobs were created
- 4.5 million new businesses were started
- The federal deficit came down from 5.5 percent of GNP to 1.5 percent
- Federal spending fell from 25 percent of GNP to 21 percent
- GNP grew by one-third
- Revenues increased by 40 percent
- And the Wall Street Journal called the 1980’s a decade of minority capitalism -- there was an 80 percent increase in Hispanic businesses; 60 percent for Asians; and nearly 50 percent for Black-owned businesses.
Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas remarked to Sean Hannity Thursday afternoon that he had a colleague tell him he, the colleague, was “sick” of hearing about history. To which Gohmert astutely and correctly replied: History matters.
Indeed it does.
Mark Levin has noted repeatedly the problems with a Boehner Speakership, as have I in this space and many others have as well. (As Peter Ferrara did here.)
He’s a good soul, but he’s an affable deal maker when history at this moment calls for much more. In Levin’s words:
I just don't think he's up to the monumental task of saving the country from Obama's designs. It's time for the Republicans to seriously reassess what they're doing.
Amen. As the Thursday night debacle illustrates.
America is being dragged backwards by the day by this President. House Republicans won an election. And they weren’t elected to sit idly by and let America go under.
Three cheers for those thirteen GOP House conservatives for standing up, Reagan-style, for principle.
They had a Reykjavik Moment.
An Air Traffic Controllers Moment.
They had a Reagan Moment.
And whatever happens next, the Reagan Thirteen are heroes.