by Jeffery Rendall
It’s no secret to regular observers of American politics that the Republican Party has its problems with leadership; fractures have developed within the caucus over time and by all appearances the leaders of both the House and Senate have frequently worked against conservatives in their drive to thwart certain aspects of President Donald Trump’s agenda.
One such fissure sprung up last week over immigration. In a last-ditch effort to make it seem like he was “doing something” about solving the lingering border dilemma Speaker Paul Ryan allowed a pair of “moderate” compromise amnesty bills to receive floor votes in the House of Representatives. Neither passed and afterwards the measures’ RINO supporters had a hard time explaining why.
David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reported, “[Republican Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Calif. and Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.] and a group of other centrists strong-armed House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., into allowing a vote on immigration reform legislation after they threatened to use a rarely-used parliamentary procedure to require a floor vote on legislation that might have been far less conservative than the twin packages that ultimately received a vote. Both failed after receiving tepid support from Trump.
“Had Democrats provided significant support for either bill, they could have passed. But for centrists running for another two-year term in districts unfriendly to Trump and his hard-line immigration policies, blaming the minority could be a tough sell considering the Republicans control all levers of lawmaking.
“The political risks these Republicans face was evident in those who took high profile roles in this latest unsuccessful attempt to overhaul U.S. immigration law and provide a path to legalization to the ‘Dreamers.’ Unlike other illegal immigrants, this group knows no other nation than this one, having been raised and schooled here, and enjoys the sympathy of a broad swath of the American public.”
Drucker’s report sounds clearly sympathetic to the plight of the “moderates” on the immigration issue. After all, they’re just a bunch of compassionate guys and gals from swing districts who are only trying to move the needle so they can tell folks back home with a straight face that they gave it the ‘ol college try to help — but the mean conservatives wouldn’t budge, right?
Hardly; RINOs are a collection of scared selfish politicians who place political self-preservation above the interests of their own party – and the country too. While polls indicate there is majority public support for allowing the “Dreamers” to stay, it’s only half the story. Big majorities of Republicans don’t agree, and they’re the ones who contribute the money, walk the precincts, make the campaign phone calls and post the yard signs. One would think the views of the party faithful would take precedence over the whines and complaints of leftist open borders immigration protesters and their Democrat enablers in Congress.
But no. The “moderates” wanted their show vote and Ryan caved and gave it to them.
These spineless chumps had to realize no Democrat would ever agree to a bill that provided funding for Trump’s border wall; therefore, these centrists certainly understood the bills wouldn’t pass. It was all a huge waste of time. If the House had effective leadership Republicans could’ve focused on real solutions to nagging problems instead of conducting show votes conjured up to make a couple dozen RINOs look good.
Needless to say, if either bill passed the House it would’ve died a slow and painful death in the senate. Assuming senate conservatives would’ve actually gone along with it (not likely) Mitch McConnell would’ve needed Democrat votes to defeat a guaranteed filibuster.
In an election year? No way. Chuck Schumer would just as soon burn the bill in front of CSPAN’s cameras as allow one of his Democrat senator conformist robots to vote “aye.”
So the illegal immigration issue persists. President Trump seems content to use it as a means to drive up GOP turnout in November and Democrats are doing the same for their base. It’s almost like the parties agree to do nothing to further their own individual political missions.
The Democrats have leadership woes to contend with as well. Laura Barrón-López reported at the Washington Examiner, “The New York Times editorial board is calling on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her top two deputies to step aside and allow younger Democratic members to lead the caucus.
“The Times takes aim at Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Democratic Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., criticizing the trio for maintaining their power rather than preparing the next generation.
“’For too long, this regime has clung to power at the expense of future leaders,’ the Times editorial board writes. ‘Neither of Ms. Pelosi’s two chief deputies, Steny Hoyer, the party whip, and Jim Clyburn, the assistant leader, is a remotely viable successor. Like Ms. Pelosi, both men are just shy of 80 and have occupied top-tier posts for over a decade. At this point, the caucus leadership has gone from stale to downright ossified.’”
Ossified? I had to look that word up — it means, “turn into bone or bony tissue,” with an example, “these tracheal cartilages may ossify”; or, ossified also means “cease developing;” be stagnant or rigid. “ossified political institutions”. The Editors of the Times probably intended the latter meaning but the former works just as well here. Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn are so long in the tooth politically they’re literally just bone rubbing on bone where most folks are concerned.
But with Democrats it really doesn’t matter. Whereas the GOP is mired in an ideological battle between conservatives (embodied by the Freedom Caucus) and the swampy moderate/liberal ruling class establishment, Democrats are all philosophically akin. The party once contained a contingent of conservatives and up until recently featured the “Blue Dog” caucus (made up of centrists who could get away with defying the leadership on certain issues such as abortion).
Not anymore; the Blue Dogs have been kicked off the back porch and Democrats are now dominated by the ultra-leftist Bernie Sanders wing of the party which includes subgroups like the Congressional Black Caucus – Trump-haters to a man (or woman). Even poor Hillary Clinton was forced to bow to the demands of the socialism pushers, moving so far left in her campaign that lifelong Democrats in the rust belt couldn’t stomach voting for her two years ago.
Barrón-López’s story offers the sad tale of Pelosi heir-apparent Rep. Joe Crowley’s (of New York) demise in a recent Democrat primary. Crowley was defeated by unapologetic 28-year-old socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a woman barely old enough to run for Congress and who makes no attempt to hide her radical views. Ocasio-Cortez seeks to abolish ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in part because of the agency’s perceived cruel policy of separating illegal immigrant children from parents when processing asylum claims.
But she’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for the new wave of young Sanders-inspired hotheads who believe old “ossified” crones like Pelosi are no longer competent to carry the socialist torch forward. To put it in perspective, Ocasio-Cortez is over 50 years younger than Pelosi. That’s half a century. Looking back 50 years (1968), the Beatles were still together, the Vietnam War was reaching its apex and Richard Nixon won the White House thanks in part to Democrat internal strife and a heck of a lot of political violence (sound familiar?).
And what’s with a liberal rag like the New York Times and this young wave of leftists bagging on Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn for being old anyway? Aren’t Democrats the accepting and anti-discriminating ones? If Pelosi’s been effective in carrying their message forward and managing the caucus all this time, what’s age got to do with it?
Hasn’t Pelosi demanded and received near-unanimous opposition and “resistance” to everything President Trump asked for? Can you think of a more practically effective leader than her?
Democrats definitely have issues. Former president Obama even contributed his two cents to the argument, saying recently that Democrats should stop being so stressed and anxious and…be more like him. Jim Geraghty wrote last week at National Review, “Barack Obama telling you to not ‘expect (politics) to be entertaining all the time’ is like LeBron James telling you to try to stay in one place for your whole career.
“Americans may want a hopeful message, but hope is just happy talk unless it is tied to a concrete plan to tackle the country’s problems. There are a lot of American voters who loathe Donald Trump — more than 65 million people voted against him — and a significant chunk of Republicans who find his persona anywhere from cringe-inducing to barely tolerable.
“But the Democratic agenda is largely repeal the tax cuts, enact ‘Medicare for All’ (which would require $32 trillion (!) in new taxes — that comes out to $24,000 per American household), and ‘abolish ICE,’ which means either come up with a completely new federal agency to handle immigration enforcement . . . or, as The Nationput it, ‘the goal of abolishing the agency is to abolish the function.’ This isn’t a policy agenda, it’s a list of wishes for a genie.”
A “genie wish list” is precisely what Democrats work for in any case. Both parties are guilty of ballooning the federal deficit but Democrats are the ones who regularly advance pie-in-the-sky big government “fix it” programs tossed out like a lure at the end of a fishing line. Unfortunately for them a big chunk of Americans are wise to what they’re doing and don’t listen anymore.
Obama can make a pitch for his party to bring back the “Hope and Change” message from 2008 but it isn’t likely to work for run-of-the-mill Democrat candidates ten years later.
Besides, today’s Democrats aren’t peddling “hope” — they’re selling anger and resistance. With a strong economy, near universal employment, confident businesses looking to expand and hire more people – what kind of “hope” would Democrats offer in the alternative? They’re basically just “fishing” in the same pond for the same gullible fish to swim after their socialistic bait.
And abolishing ICE would be just plain crazy. It wouldn’t happen, of course, but Democrats are making hay over the possibility should they ever return to power. Patrick J. Buchanan wrote last week at The American Conservative, “[L]iberal elites making fools of themselves is a less serious matter than the savage slanders Democrats are hurling at the 20,000 men and women of ICE who are daily protecting us and our country.
“ICE, after all, was established to prevent another 9/11, when real terrorists, some of whom had overstayed their visas, massacred 3,000 innocent people, most of them Americans…
“Whatever one may think of Trump’s policy of ‘zero tolerance’ of immigrants who break into our country, for elites to smear the 20,000 men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe as ‘terrorists’ and ‘fascists’ is an especially egregious form of liberal ingratitude. What is it in the DNA of the Left that it is always ready to enlist in any new war on cops?”
The left’s crusade isn’t so much a war on cops as it is a battle against traditional America. Leftists must first destroy existing institutions in order to rebuild them – or let them organically reemerge – according to their own utopian dreams of “equality” and “tolerance” and one-thought-covers-all kumbaya gratification.
Freaking out over dated Obama-era images and video of crying children at the border is just means to an end. If it scares enough “moderate” Republicans into passing an amnesty bill, mission accomplished.
Leadership is in short supply for both parties and the American political situation has deteriorated because of it. No progress will ever be made on immigration until Republicans elect leaders willing to stand up for President Trump’s common-sense reforms. Democrats are simply hopeless.