Republicans squander political capital

Following the Republican landslide victories of the 1994 midterm elections, conservatives watched in amazement as Republican 'moderates' proceeded to completely squander the ground they had gained, culminating in the defeat of Bob Dole in '96. In the aftermath of this year's elections, ominous signs point towards a repeat performance.

Apparently, Republican Party operatives didn't really comprehend why, in the middle of Bill Clinton's first term, they won big. And to this day, political analysts still don't seem to grasp the situation. Among conservatives, the conventional wisdom is that the newly realigned GOP Congressional majority had wrongly presumed too much of a mandate, subsequently shocking the American people with an excessively bold agenda.

In truth however, the exact opposite took place. And if the Republican Party doesn't quickly come to grips with this fact, it may find itself facing larger defeats in '06 and '08 than the Democrats just received.

By formulating the 'Contract with America,' Newt Gingrich brilliantly highlighted the contrasts between the two parties. In presenting America with such a clear choice, he ensured that the liberalism of the Democrats would be on parade. The rest is history.

Yet in the aftermath of the elections, intense media pressure caused Gingrich and the Republicans to backtrack. Bob Dole's 'enough is enough' surrender to Clinton's bloated 1995 budget sealed Dole's fate in the following year's presidential election. Despite Republican wins, the left still dominated.

In reality, the much—heralded 'Republican Revolution' simply never happened. Where, for example, was a single bloated bureaucracy eliminated, or required to face even modest budget cuts at the hands of the Republicans?

Far from committing any conservative 'excesses,' it was the abandonment of such things which disillusioned the 'grassroots' and convinced them that 'business as usual' still reigned supreme in Washington. Hence, many stayed home on Election Day in '96.

So, how have Republicans fared during the brief 'lame duck' Congressional session following this year's election? Initial signs are not encouraging. Rather than confronting the Democrats' obstructionism, and their continued pandering to the counterculture, Republicans are once again waffling, conceding, and capitulating.

The recently passed 'National Security Reform Act' is a prime example. Key to American security is regaining control of its borders. Amazingly, Congress decided to remove a provision from the security reform measure that would have clamped down on the ability of illegal aliens (such as the nineteen hijackers of 9—11) to obtain drivers' licenses.
According to opponents of the provision, such discussion belongs in other legislation. Yet if the mass influx of undocumented foreigners isn't relevant to the security of the nation, little else is.

Beyond all of the excuses, the reality of the situation is that the Republicans in the House and Senate have no stomach to confront the illegal alien issue, for fear of media backlash. They apparently remain clueless as to the receding relevance of the 'mainstream' media, or the fact that their acquiescence to it will cause an enormous rift with the 'base' from whom they so recently garnered electoral victories.

On another front, Senate Minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada highlighted the tight spot in which Senate Democrats presently find themselves. Completely abandoning any pretence of bipartisan cooperation, Reid pressed forward in the footsteps of his predecessor, the recently defeated Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

On a weekend talk show, Reid sounded like the standard, clichéd, liberal Democrat of the Washington 'insider' crowd, promising obstruction and rancor, but not surprisingly accompanied by the standard liberal demands that Republicans 'reach across the aisle.'

If a groundswell of disapproval occurs in response to his caustic diatribe, Reid, being another partisan Democrat Senator from a 'red state,' could eventually face a fate similar to that suffered by Daschle. Fortunately for Reid, Senate Republicans may well ride in to his rescue. Fearing possible negative ramifications from altering the present Senate rules that allow legislation to be stalled by a forty vote filibuster, Republicans are again showing their reluctance to play 'hard ball' when confronted with such obstructionism.

Presently, Democrats have been using this technique to thwart the appointment of judges who would uphold the Constitution. So, conservatives are left wondering what possible ramifications could be worse than a continued thwarting of the Constitution's requirement that majority, not a super—majority, confirm the appointments of federal judges.

John Kerry's liberalism, when viewed against the backdrop of the War on Terror, provided the contrast that yielded significant Republican Congressional gains, and a victory for President Bush. If Republicans continue to erase that contrast, they will eventually erase the victory.

Following the Republican landslide victories of the 1994 midterm elections, conservatives watched in amazement as Republican 'moderates' proceeded to completely squander the ground they had gained, culminating in the defeat of Bob Dole in '96. In the aftermath of this year's elections, ominous signs point towards a repeat performance.

Apparently, Republican Party operatives didn't really comprehend why, in the middle of Bill Clinton's first term, they won big. And to this day, political analysts still don't seem to grasp the situation. Among conservatives, the conventional wisdom is that the newly realigned GOP Congressional majority had wrongly presumed too much of a mandate, subsequently shocking the American people with an excessively bold agenda.

In truth however, the exact opposite took place. And if the Republican Party doesn't quickly come to grips with this fact, it may find itself facing larger defeats in '06 and '08 than the Democrats just received.

By formulating the 'Contract with America,' Newt Gingrich brilliantly highlighted the contrasts between the two parties. In presenting America with such a clear choice, he ensured that the liberalism of the Democrats would be on parade. The rest is history.

Yet in the aftermath of the elections, intense media pressure caused Gingrich and the Republicans to backtrack. Bob Dole's 'enough is enough' surrender to Clinton's bloated 1995 budget sealed Dole's fate in the following year's presidential election. Despite Republican wins, the left still dominated.

In reality, the much—heralded 'Republican Revolution' simply never happened. Where, for example, was a single bloated bureaucracy eliminated, or required to face even modest budget cuts at the hands of the Republicans?

Far from committing any conservative 'excesses,' it was the abandonment of such things which disillusioned the 'grassroots' and convinced them that 'business as usual' still reigned supreme in Washington. Hence, many stayed home on Election Day in '96.

So, how have Republicans fared during the brief 'lame duck' Congressional session following this year's election? Initial signs are not encouraging. Rather than confronting the Democrats' obstructionism, and their continued pandering to the counterculture, Republicans are once again waffling, conceding, and capitulating.

The recently passed 'National Security Reform Act' is a prime example. Key to American security is regaining control of its borders. Amazingly, Congress decided to remove a provision from the security reform measure that would have clamped down on the ability of illegal aliens (such as the nineteen hijackers of 9—11) to obtain drivers' licenses.
According to opponents of the provision, such discussion belongs in other legislation. Yet if the mass influx of undocumented foreigners isn't relevant to the security of the nation, little else is.

Beyond all of the excuses, the reality of the situation is that the Republicans in the House and Senate have no stomach to confront the illegal alien issue, for fear of media backlash. They apparently remain clueless as to the receding relevance of the 'mainstream' media, or the fact that their acquiescence to it will cause an enormous rift with the 'base' from whom they so recently garnered electoral victories.

On another front, Senate Minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada highlighted the tight spot in which Senate Democrats presently find themselves. Completely abandoning any pretence of bipartisan cooperation, Reid pressed forward in the footsteps of his predecessor, the recently defeated Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

On a weekend talk show, Reid sounded like the standard, clichéd, liberal Democrat of the Washington 'insider' crowd, promising obstruction and rancor, but not surprisingly accompanied by the standard liberal demands that Republicans 'reach across the aisle.'

If a groundswell of disapproval occurs in response to his caustic diatribe, Reid, being another partisan Democrat Senator from a 'red state,' could eventually face a fate similar to that suffered by Daschle. Fortunately for Reid, Senate Republicans may well ride in to his rescue. Fearing possible negative ramifications from altering the present Senate rules that allow legislation to be stalled by a forty vote filibuster, Republicans are again showing their reluctance to play 'hard ball' when confronted with such obstructionism.

Presently, Democrats have been using this technique to thwart the appointment of judges who would uphold the Constitution. So, conservatives are left wondering what possible ramifications could be worse than a continued thwarting of the Constitution's requirement that majority, not a super—majority, confirm the appointments of federal judges.

John Kerry's liberalism, when viewed against the backdrop of the War on Terror, provided the contrast that yielded significant Republican Congressional gains, and a victory for President Bush. If Republicans continue to erase that contrast, they will eventually erase the victory.