01.20.2015 1

The state of the opposition

nutjobBy Rick Manning

Conservative leaders recently unveiled a bold new blueprint for Congressional Republicans — who are in control of the entire legislative branch of government for the first time since 2006.  Signed by numerous reputable organizations with decades of experience advancing conservative ideals, the document did not tread gingerly — nor should it have.

“The November election was a repudiation of President Obama’s dramatic expansion of government power both through legislative and executive actions,” its preamble noted. “The voters demanded that Congress stop this President’s fundamental transformation of America using every power at their disposal, restoring Constitutional balance of power, and ending the Executive Branch abuses against both the citizenry and the foundational concept that individual rights are derived from God, not government.”

Simply put, those are “fighting words” — and there is ample reason (and opportunity) for Republicans to use their congressional majority to fight the good fight.  Across the country, Obama’s regulatory wave of fundamental transformation is targeting American innovation, incomes and individual liberty.  And as our nation drowns deeper in debt, the president’s overreach only grows bolder and more dangerous.

The consequences are increasingly visible in the form of stagnant income levels, a record 92.9 million working age Americans not participating in the work force and an economy in which small businesses are dying faster than they can be created.

“The U.S. now ranks not first, not second, not third, but 12th among developed nations in terms of business startup activity.  Countries such as Hungary, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Israel and Italy all have higher startup rates than America does,” Gallup’s Jim Clifton noted this week.

Such conditions demand an aggressive Republican defense of conservative economic principles — not more accommodation of the Obama agenda.

Yet inexplicably, the first thing the GOP did after winning its majority was cave to Democrats on a pork-laden lame duck budget resolution.  Rather than stand firm against Obamacare and executive amnesty — they punted.   According to the authors of the conservative manifesto, GOP leaders “stuck a collective thumb in the eye of the voters by working with the White House to undercut that vote and become complicit in government’s expansion.”

The conservative leaders went on to say this 1,774-page, $1.1 trillion boondoggle “undercut the incoming majority’s ability to govern” and “delivered to Obama and crony capitalists what they wanted.”  Which of course was the certification of executive amnesty and another year of full funding for Obamacare.

Republican voters have made it abundantly clear they are dissatisfied with the appeasement of Obama.  In fact sixty percent of them said they wanted someone other than House Speaker John Boehner to lead the GOP-controlled House of Representatives this session.

“The alienation among Republican voters is so high,” pollster Pat Caddell noted earlier this month.  “A quarter to one-third of the Republican party are hanging by a thread from bolting.”

In other words developing a backbone against the Obama onslaught isn’t just a matter of constitutional integrity or economic necessity — it is a matter of political survival for the Republican Party.  The GOP was banished to the wilderness of the minority once before because its leaders failed to live up to the limited government, lower tax mantra championed by conservative stalwarts like Ronald Reagan.

In fact the failure of many GOP leaders to adhere to party orthodoxy ushered in the very era of overreach the new Republican majority is now being asked to undo.

“Congress has an historic opportunity to lay down a marker for freedom and stop the erosion of freedom emanating from the pen of President Obama,” the authors of the conservative manifesto concluded.  “They were elected to do just that, to not only stop the fundamental transformation of America, but to create the alternative vision of a prosperous, free America where citizens know that hard work is the pathway to success. They were elected to protect and defend the Constitution from the tidal wave of encroachments that threaten the basic God-given freedom from government that individuals are guaranteed.”

For the sake of our Republic, let’s hope they stand against the wave.  If they don’t, the GOP’s next trip to the political wilderness could be permanent.

The author is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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