Monday, March 2, 2015

Is Political Courage Still Possible?

I have looked at the next dance over the Department of Homeland Security funding, I was impressed with Speaker John Boehner's stern about face, as he pressured the President and stood with his colleagues against the Obama's unjust and unconstitutional power grab.

The DHS funding bill, which included amendments blocking funds for executive amnesty, ended up in the Senate, where Republicans have a clear majority: fifty-four seats. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin has signaled to the press that he will vote with Republicans to fund the DHS with the necessary amendments.

After four attempts to pass an up-or-down vote on the House bill, Democrats in the minority sat on the bill and refused to budge away from an endless filibuster. Conservative Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama suggested that Senate Majority Leader McConnell finish what Senator Reid and his former majority had started, and eliminate the filibuster altogether. Other Republicans indicated that they would not go along with the legislation.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Then McConnell offers to offer  a clean DHS bill, without the amendments blocking executive amnesty. Speaker Boehner repeated to reporters and supports that the House of Representatives did its job, fully funding the Department of Homeland Security while tying up misappropriations of funds to unlawful executive actions.

Republicans have the majority in both chambers, and Americans across the ideological and ethnic spectrum do not support the President's unlawful maneuvering. McConnell did not play nice with the Keystone bill, forcing an up-or-down vote on amendment from liberal Democrats who did not support the project, and demonstrated no interest in changing their mind.

What has happened? Why did McConnell then decide to remove the necessary House amendments in favor of a  clean funding bill, which will not match the House version? Republicans are still not making the case for the long-term consequences of President Obama's imperial maneuvers. They have not yet understood that it is not enough to be right, but that other people have to agree.

McConnell caved: Why?

Once again, media pressure is playing an unsavory role in this turnabout. Keystone enjoyed widespread bipartisan support in Congress, particularly in the US Senate before the Republicans took over. Media, both Left and Right as well as Marginalized, supported the project. Labor unions and corporate interests want the Keystone Pipeline laid in, as well. The wellspring of support made it more difficult for Democrats to push against their constituents on this project.

When it comes to Executive Amnesty, however, the media class still demonizes Republicans as obstructionists who want to deport women and children. Still fearful of the press' impression of them, Republicans want to present themselves as adults who will govern.

The problem is that the House did exactly that, and offered a bill which would forbid the President's unconstitutional power grab. The overwhelming civility of some Republicans is becoming a liability which no one can ignore anymore. Democrats in the US Senate have gotten so accustomed to sitting down and having their way, frustrating and blocking amendments and bills, many of which were passed in the House along bipartisan lines.

Republicans held the moral high ground, and they could have forced the Democrats to filibuster the bill by standing and talking the bill to death. Put their progressive heart into it, so to speak. Instead, they back off. If the funding does run out, it would have been the Democrats' fault, who had no moral argument for blocking the funding, and in fact admitted frequently throughout the past week that they were blocking -- blocking! -- the funding.

Where is the political courage? This much-needed characteristic is still weak if not non-existent in Washington, but is political courage all but disappeared?

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

That is not the case, if we look at the states. Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Mexico have passed or are pushing right-to-work legislation. Welfare reform is the norm in the states, as well. While President Obama opens America's borders to rampant illegal immigration, state governors have sued the federal government and have mobilized forces to protect their states and the people. Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico continues to push for repealing driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker reformed collective bargaining entitlements for public sector unions. Greg Abbot of Texas campaigned against amnesty and in-state tuition for illegal aliens, and won.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Republicans and Democrats in Washington are insulated from the American voters, and many of them still see the media class as the final arbiter of winners and losers. State lawmakers and leaders are not. While the media held strong influence over Beltway politics in the past, they have less influence in local markets. We no longer live in the days of Walter Cronkite, who decided whether a policy was good or bad. The mainstream media has become marginalized on account of the litany of scandals from the Obama Administration, even against Big Media itself with the DOJ seizing the phone records of AP reporters.

The progressive, leftist culture which has perverted education, entertainment, and the press is slowly falling apart. The states are catching up, but Washington, with its long-time political insiders, still see the status quo as the safest way to go. New lawmakers are entering Washington refusing to get along to go along. The thirty-one US Senators who voted against a "clean" DHS bill, for example, included the large majority of Republicans recently elected in 2014.

Political courage is still possible, but must be fomented by a new culture from the bottom up reshaping the perception of the average voters, to see the whole story, not just the narrative which fits the progressive world view. Conservative politicians need to accept that they must refine the media and define the narrative first, then push hard against the deceptions and distortions of left-wing liberal pandering. The war must be fought and won for the hearts and minds of individual voters, not just votes in committees and the floors of legislative chambers.

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