Going into late last summer, the Los Angeles Dodgers were doing remarkably well. Nearly five months through the long six-month 162-game baseball season, they were en route to becoming the “winningest” baseball team in more than a century. They were 91-36, having won more than 70 percent of their first 127 games, en route potentially to shattering the ceiling of 116 wins charted by the 2001 Seattle Mariners and even more impressively the 1906 Chicago Cubs (who reached that mark though playing ten fewer games). Then — suddenly, from outta nowhere — they utterly collapsed. They lost 16 of their next 17 games. Panic was everywhere — except among people like me who hate the Dodgers. (It’s a Brooklyn thing imbued in me by Zeyde, my grandfather.)
In the end, the “Boys in Blue” disregarded doomsday predictions during their mid-season collapse, realized they still were well in the lead, got their mojo together, and ultimately glided easily into the World Series, baseball’s final showdown. (They did miss winning the post-season’s final round by a sliver, a cautionary reminder that nothing in life is certain other than death, taxes, and the deceitfully hypocritical Kirsten Gillibrand’s penchant to climb atop corpses of those who helped her rise.)
Republicans would do well to consider the 2017 Dodgers analogy, relax a moment and take a deep “cleansing breath,” realize that the GOP resides comfortably in first place, has been on a remarkable extended winning run, and know that every season has its inevitable slumps. When a party has become as dominant nationally as has the GOP, it is going to lose a liberal bastion occasionally. The liberal mainstream media may dream otherwise, but Alabama was outlier, the last revival of Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. With that spectacle past, and now with a fabulous $1.5 trillion tax cut at hand, Republicans should just stop bopping each other on the head and poking each other in the eyes like Moe, Larry, and Curly, and the GOP can be at the cusp of the best political times we conservatives have enjoyed in nearly a century. Consider:
Conservatives Are Better Positioned Politically Today Than at Any Time Since the 1920s.
For truly conservative Republicans, the Eisenhower and Nixon Administrations, though better than the Democrat alternatives, were not ideologically conservative presidencies. Nixon’s the One who enacted price and wage controls, appointed several ideologically mushy judges after the fiascoes of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell, greatly expanded federal spending on social programs, and engaged in rapprochement with China and détente with the Soviets that did not net America or him as much as it afforded them. His successor after Watergate was pragmatically a Ford, not a Lincoln. The two Bushes by-and-large were not better than a Byrd in the hand. America’s borders were porous throughout, and the price of GOP dereliction is reflected in a California, once the state that made Nixon and Reagan viable as Presidential candidates, altered irremediably for the next generation. These “kinder-gentler” Republicans put into the Supreme Court the likes of Earl Warren and William Brennan (named by Ike), Harry Blackmun (named by Nixon), John Paul Stevens (by Ford), David Souter (by Bush I), and almost Harriet Miers (Bush II). Even President Ronald Reagan, hampered by a House of Representatives that the Democrats overwhelmingly controlled throughout his eight years in office, and with the Senate controlled by Democrats for two of those years, compromised by naming Justice Sandra O’Connor, agreed to massive amnesties for illegal immigrants, allowed the welfare state to balloon in return for tax cuts, and endeavored gallantly to advance conservative values while bedeviled by a Left media before alternative conservative outlets existed to offset the endless stream of Fake News. And he made George Bush I possible.
Nevertheless, thanks to Obama’s cataclysmic policy failures, Republicans have unseated Democrats in so many hundreds upon hundreds of national, statewide, and local municipal races these past eight years that Democrats’ ranks have been depleted and their reservoir of potential candidates for higher offices decimated. Democrat insider Donna Brazile concedes that the Clintons ravaged the party, leaving it near bankruptcy. Wasserman Schultz is hated by Dems even more than she is loathed by Republicans. Meanwhile, Republicans now have the White House, control the House of Representatives, and still command the United States Senate majority sufficiently to pass historic tax bills, approve conservative judges, chair critical committees, and prevent the reality-challenged likes of Maxine Waters from removing the duly elected President of the United States. The Supreme Court majority remains moderate to conservative and is poised to leap soon into faithful Constitutional conservatism. The Senate, despite the “Resistance,” now has approved a record 12 new federal circuit judges in only one year, and they all are rock-solid conservatives. Reagan never had it this good — nor did we.
Yes, the reduced GOP Senate majority is precarious at 52-49. (Don’t forget: Vice President Mike Pence counts). Yes, Mitch McConnell aggravates, and Paul Ryan occasionally disappoints. Yes, John McCain has scores to settle. So will Bob Corker and Jeff Flake for a few more months. Rand Paul sometimes floats into Howard Roark/Dagny Taggart diversions, and Susan Collins legitimately is hamstrung because any electoral gain in Maine falls plainly on the middle lane. But it’s still better leading 52-49 than being down by three. At last year’s January 2017 Rose Bowl, USC had 52, and Penn State had 49. Guess which college team celebrated. Meanwhile, even though Chief Justice Roberts did that loopy Obamacare tax thing in June 2012, he now has provided precisely the jurisprudential hook on which to hang the new tax bill’s termination of Obama’s individual mandate.
All in All, Not Bad. The Mainstream Media Dreamers Wish They and Their Democrat Bedfellows Had It This Good.
Remember the Warren Court of the 1960s? Imagine if Hillary now had the power to name Obama (Barack or Michelle), Eric Holder, or Elizabeth Warren to the Court. (Bill Clinton was disbarred, so ineligible.) Let the Left dream on.
Hundreds of millions in cash no longer fly first-class, secretly stacked in wooden pallets, as ransom to Iranian mullahs. We no longer sign ill-conceived multilateral deals that abandon our economic rights while destroying our manufacturing base and closing down our factories at home. Billions no longer sink in Solyndra-type pipe dreams. The EPA no longer strangles the economy, even as the Keystone XL pipeline now proceeds, and parts of ANWR prepare for exploration. Clean coal is being revived, hydraulic fracturing is being advanced, and we are moving towards energy independence ending our reliance on brutal dictatorships and barbaric sheikdoms. Suffocating Obama-era regulations are being shredded. Illegal immigration along the southern border has plummeted dramatically, and the wall is moving forward — not as rapidly as we wish, but advancing. When an illegal immigrant dirtbag, who had been deported five times before and convicted on felony charges seven previous times, kills a sweet girl on a San Francisco pier and gets acquitted by a local jury, we now have a Justice Department that promptly brings new federal charges to incarcerate him anyway. The tax cut’s impact will be felt across the economy over the next several years, bursting the media’s calculated misinformation. Consumer confidence has rebounded from the Obama-Kerry-Pelosi Years to resounding highs, economic growth is well over three percent, and the past year’s stock market boom reflects the dramatic rebound.
Despite the post-Alabama doomsayers and leftist gloaters, the landscape really is so much better than it was just a few short years ago when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, and Harry Reid was Senate majority leader. They passed Obamacare by cover of darkness, brazenly asserting that we — and they — would find out what’s in the bill only after it passed. They sabotaged and isolated Israel, propping the fantasy in Kerry-Obama’s Security Council Resolution 2334 that a brand-new Arab terrorist country would get the Western Wall, stabbed Czechoslovakia and Poland in the backs by reneging on missile defense agreements to protect against Putin, allowed Iran and North Korea to grow nuclear programs, left our heroes exposed in Benghazi, initiated the disastrous “reset” with Putin that lost the Crimea and endangers the Ukraine, announced to the Taliban and ISIS in advance the dates by which we would withdraw from strategic promontories and abandon our positions to them. Obama released from Gitmo five of the most brutal murderers in Arab Terrordom in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter who his comical national security adviser joked had served with “honor and distinction.” They actually endeavored to close down Gitmo. We had a President who literally bowed to Arab sheiks and a Secretary of State who responded to Islamist Arab murders by swift-boating James Taylor to France to sing “You’ve Got a Friend.”
It really is pretty darn better nowadays — and no less, even with no Moore.
Betsy DeVos is ending anti-American regulations on campuses that deprived accused students of basic Constitutional protections. Children in inner cities are getting opportunities at charter schools that do better jobs than failed public schools. Free-loading countries are starting to pay their fair share of NATO costs instead of mooching off us. We no longer wake up to Eric Holder and “Fast and Furious,” Loretta Lynch and clandestine tarmac meetings to discuss golf, Eric Holder and Black Panther voter intimidation, Lois Lerner leveraging the IRS to deprive Americans of their liberties, and Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Chelsea Handler flees her mansion, tweeting from her alternative reality that Trump is to blame for California high winds causing wildfires, but still fails to honor her pledge to leave America if Trump won. All in all, not bad.
Despite the Wistful Musings of the Dreamers in the Media After the Alabama Fiasco, Republicans Remain Positioned to Hold Both Houses Next November and Then to Enact the Next Phase of the Conservative Trump Agenda… As Long as the GOP Stops Acting Like the Three Stooges.
OK, the darned seat in Alabama was lost, and it is more than a shame and never should have happened. But look ahead:
1. The Republicans control the House and need to screw up much worse in order to lose it in 2018. DACA be damned — it is the mainstream media who are the Dreamers. Let them gloat and dream on. Democrat voters are disproportionately bunched geographically in urban centers where they accumulate numbers, but Republicans enjoy a huge advantage, diversely widespread in counties throughout America. (Think of those red maps on Election nights like this one.) The Democrats’ ranks of inspired insurgents are depleted after a near-decade of decimating shellackings under Obama. Republicans enjoy the huge advantage of incumbency. Rural districts are loyal to the Trump agenda, and they trust him. Trump, unlike politicians, stands by promises. The Bushes lied, and Republicans fried. (The first promised “Read my lips: No new taxes”; the second promised to leave us a stronger economy.) By contrast, Trump holds his ground. Meanwhile, post-2010 GOP gerrymandering has offset previous cycles of Democrat gerrymandering. Republicans still control two-thirds of all state houses and two-thirds of state legislatures. The highly accurate non-partisan FairVote analysis details why it would take a massive nationwide landslide for the House to turn Democrat. No matter what the mainstream-media Dreamers fantasize, the GOP remains strongly positioned to hold the House. And the massive tax cut will bolster that standing.
2. In 2018, Republicans have to defend 8 Senate seats, and Democrats have to defend 25. The GOP may or may not lose a seat in Nevada (Dean Heller) and in Arizona (Jeff Flake). Maybe even another somewhere. But Heidi Heitkamp has to answer to North Dakota voters, and Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and Joe Manchin in West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana, and Jon Tester in Montana. Not to mention Sherrod Brown in Ohio and Bill Nelson in Florida and other Democrat Rust Belt senators. Several will be handing their seats back to Republicans. Because of the fortuitous math that sees Democrats facing so many Senate challenges in so many heavily pro-Trump and naturally Republican states, amid an economy benefiting from a $1.5 trillion tax cut that will spur job growth and leave more money in most everyone’s pockets, the Republicans are going to need to try much harder at beating each other up if they want to lose the U.S. Senate in 2018. If only because of fortuitous logistics, the GOP is positioned to hold the Senate.
3. With Republicans positioned to hold both houses of Congress for at least the next three years through January 2121 — and maybe longer — odds favor President Trump and a GOP Senate filling additional vacancies on the Court. Justice Ginsburg, now 84, will be almost 88 by 2021. Justice Kennedy will be 84. Enough said. Likewise, the midterm invites cabinet house cleaning. President Trump continues gaining deftness in navigating aspects of Washington governance that lay outside his initial purview. If Jeff Sessions has not mastered his job by midterm, the Attorney General will be replaced as soon as he is located; he might even rebound by retrieving the Alabama Senate seat in 2020, reverting from the Peter Principle. With time’s passage, judicial nominees and other appointees whose confirmations the “Resistance” have slow-tracked in 2017 finally will have been approved. Having settled in and gained greater mastery of their agencies, the respective cabinet secretaries will eradicate more bad rules they inherited and will continue identifying improvements to advance. Funding for the border wall will have begun, contracts awarded, and construction work launched. Notwithstanding Senate inaction on “Repeal-and-Replace,” Obamacare substantially will have been gutted by a year without the individual mandate. It will be a time of exceptional conservative opportunity.
But Can Republicans Really Smile After Losing the Alabama Senate Seat and Two Governorships?
Any fair analysis of the recent Roy Moore debacle recognizes that the election was beyond outlier; it was extra-planetary. Roy Moore — whether he “did it or didn’t do it,” a subject that Alabamans may debate ad infinitum over fried catfish and banana pudding — simply confronted a uniquely devastating narrative that he failed to counter with compelling passion or persuasiveness, and he ran a knuckle-headed campaign homestretch, even traipsing out of state to a college football game the weekend before the election. Despite being caught in an impossible moral cloud that left even his strongest supporters enduring acid reflux when endorsing him, and missing the better part of his own election campaign, he still barely lost not to a Democrat but to 23,000 write-ins.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey results augur absolutely nothing. Chris Christie way-outlived his extended stay in liberal Democrat New Jersey. Politics aside, it really was time for the G.W. Bridge to toll for his entourage. Similarly, today’s Virginia is not the conservative seat it was, a demographic development counterbalanced by formerly blue states that now are securely Republican. Thus, the same Texas that once gave us Lyndon Johnson and Lloyd Bentsen now is red, as are West Virginia and other blue states now crimson Republican. Even Wisconsin, once the base of La Follette Progressivism (before that term was arrogated by the left to camouflage the bane of liberalism), now gives us Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, and Ron Johnson.
The important thing now is for Republicans to stop trying to impress the Dreamers at CNN and the mainstream media, focus on the Trump agenda that won them the White House and kept them employed, move forward in 2018 on always-popular welfare reform, advance building the wall that will keep out opioids and will help secure the porous border, and spend on some infrastructure repair and construction. For Republicans, the forthcoming three years offer great hope. They just have to stop clobbering each other like the Three Stooges and start acting like a governing party emerging from a brief midseason slump and ready to resume winning. If they do so, there will be plenty opportunity after November 2018 to gather Pelosi and Schumer and tell their Resistance: Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.
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