Whacko Birds? Damn FewBy Sally Zelikovsky
Holy Much Ado About Nothing, Batman, the government has shut down! Wham! Pow! Splat!
But the reality is, the roller coaster ride America has been on for the last few months is finally over and, so far, we aren't picking up the Republican bodies everyone said would be thrown from the ride.
No doubt the Democrats will make mincemeat out of the Republicans and we will continue to be blamed for everything -- not negotiating, not agreeing to conferences, single-handedly closing down the government, creating more unemployment and misery for the 800,000+ federal employees -- blah, blah, blah. Color me jaded, but there's nothing new there. And the president is already out lambasting Republicans in so obvious a partisan manner that it will not resonate well with the Indies -- they aren't gullible like the Dem party diehards.
But there is a greater point here I'd like to make: It seems most commentators on the tube or internet and many members of Congress have missed the key reason why so many grassroots conservatives, members of the Republican base and Tea Partiers supported this crazy, whacko, doomed-to-fail, extreme, hostage-holding stance to defund ObamaCare -- from conservative icons like Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer to turncoats like Peter King, John McCain, and Lindsay Graham who endlessly brayed in opposition to the defunding efforts.
"Turncoats" is admittedly a harsh term but when was the last time you saw an entire faction of House or Senate Democrats publicly express their disagreement with fellow Democrats for a stand they took, like supporting Occupy Wall Street? Or a piece of legislation they proposed, like ObamaCare? When was the last time you heard any Democrat verbally and very publicly abuse their fellow blue coats calling them suicidal or whacko birds? Ever hear Harry Reid criticize Nancy Pelosi or Al Franken hurl invectives at Steny Hoyer? When will Republicans learn that you don't air your dirty laundry and you never speak ill of a fellow Republican -- even if it benefits you personally, politically, or financially.
It's enough we have to deal with Dan Pfeiffer referring to us as suicide bombers, Harry Reid implying we are insane, and the president refusing to negotiate with us as if we were terrorists and he was channeling Reagan. We don't need our own to feed fuel into the Democrat-controlled fire. Maybe we are insane because we keep making this mistake over and over. Turncoats like McCain, King, and Graham should have remained silent if they couldn't genuinely agree and, instead, expressed their disagreement and alternatives behind the scenes without adding to the clutter of personal insults launched by the Democrats.
It took me years to recognize that I was not a Democrat or a liberal but a conservative, and even longer to actually register as a Republican. Once registered, I embraced the party. Even when I formed the San Francisco Tea Party ("SFTP"), I worked closely with Republican candidates and local Republican central committees and women's federations while encouraging members of the SFTP to do so as well. Some resisted, many participated holding their noses, but most got it and worked hard to raise money, walk precincts, distribute literature, and phone bank. They protested Obama every time he came to California to raise money and did so speaking with one voice as Republicans and Tea Partiers.
I would consider myself a staunch Republican and a staunch Tea Partier. And I'm proud of both. I never believed that there was as stark a division within the Republican Party, but due to recent events, I have been proven wrong on that count. And, I am appalled that -- conceding that the defund ObamaCare strategy was driven by House and Senate members who were supported by and identified with the Tea Party -- the rest of the Party responded by visibly and very vocally dressing down accomplished Republicans with distinguished legal careers like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. Both senators identify with the Tea Party and the Republican Party, are highly-educated and articulate individuals who are walking the walk and talking the talk and gave up promising legal careers to ensure a viable America for their kids. Ted Cruz clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist, specialized in Supreme Court litigation which involved arguing numerous times before the Court, and was Solicitor General in Texas. Mike Lee clerked for Justice Alito, specialized in Supreme Court litigation and was an assistant U.S. Attorney. Their experience and CVs are extensive. Yet, John "Dr. Strangelove" McCain, who petulantly refused to believe the Syrian rebels were mostly jihadis because he had been there at one point in time and knows the rebels -- is calling them whacko birds?
The reason so many of us supported Cruz's defunding efforts is because WE -- the people, the boots on the ground, the voters and fundraisers -- are the very individuals who are endlessly solicited by our local, state, and national Republican parties to make donations. Politicians and pundits rely on us to win elections. And, we just don't vote. We get out the vote. We dutifully did so in 2010 and 2012 and we will do it again in 2014 and 2016 but not if we are going to get more of the same -- empty promises, work unfulfilled, and cowardice in battles just because we don't have the numbers to win the war today.
Tea Party and non-Tea Party members of the Republican base, and disgruntled Republicans who left the party because they believe it left them, have felt completely ignored over the years. Indeed, the Tea Party was born out of this feeling of marginalization; out of the reality that there was a separate, entitled, elite political class in Washington that did as it wished as opposed to what the people wanted, that no longer listened to constituents, and neglected our core conservative principles. These perceptions abated somewhat in the wake of victory in 2010 and while ramping up for a Senate and White House takeover in 2012 that never was.
But the skepticism that the Republicans we are sending to Washington aren't fighting on our behalf has never completely receded and, in fact, has intensified after Obama's 2012 victory. This is why it is so important that someone, somewhere in Washington stands up for the little guy who is about to be hit hard with an egregious piece of legislation. We need to see that those we elected to undo ObamaCare will do battle for us -- no matter the political consequences, no matter the personal assaults.
We know we will be blamed -- what else is new? We are blamed for everything because the press is unabashedlycontrolled by Democrats who openly shill for Obama. We would be blamed even if we did nothing. And we all know that -- including Rove, Krauthammer, McCain, Graham, and King. This time is no different from all the others.
But those of us on the battlefield need to know that our commanders -- -the candidates the Republican Party wants us to vote for, raise money for, walk and call for, host parties for, campaign for, and get out the vote for -- will stand up for us, the People; will stand up and confront the policies we elected them to confront; will stand up for our principles.
Maybe we won't win the "principles" argument 100% of the time (Lord knows how often I have pitched to the SFTP the argument that you can ride your principles off a cliff), but on an issue that affects everyone in this country and 17% of the economy, that has dominated the discussion for 5 years and was the centerpiece of the 2010 elections and the first two years of Obama's reign -- yes, we expect our pundits and politicians and party to defend the will of the People, the Constitution, Equality, Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility and Lower Taxes -- all of which are neatly wrapped up in 2200 pages of hell.
What Ted Cruz and Mike Lee accomplished -- that will go very far in the 2014 and 2016 elections in terms of grassroots support which is waning now -- is to show the wee folk that he and others in the Republican Party are committed and unafraid to stand for a cause we believe in and most of the country supports. Millions of registered Republicans disillusioned with the party's governance refused to vote in 2012. Millions more would refuse to vote in 2014 and 2016 if ObamaCare hadn't been addressed. You have to trust me on this, Karl and Charles. I have my ear to the ground. I get the emails. I see the demoralization within the base and the grassroots every day.
As a party, we cannot afford to lose millions of more votes. We must clean up our internal affairs before we take on the enemy.
In exchange for Cruz and Lee standing their ground and confirming that someone in the Republican Party is listening and working indefatigably on our behalf, the grassroots pledges its support in 2014 and 2016. We will work tirelessly for you. We will send that $100 to you. We will argue in our town councils, churches, schools, and workplaces for you. And we will proudly don the moniker "whacko bird" if it means we are opposing an odiouslaw, with deleterious consequences that will detrimentally change the face of America forever.
Nothing in life is guaranteed and we have seen the politically expected turned on its head in the last 6 years. Who knows? There might be some unintended consequences to this entire fiasco that play in our favor. Perhaps the Obama, Reid, Pelosi triumvirate is overplaying its hand with the savvy middle by relentlessly pounding on the Republicans to the point of being unbelievable as well as unsavory.
Leadership depends on the grassroots for success. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and those who voted with them demonstrated that, together with the People, we are the few who will bravely and proudly venture down range -- even if we are shot at with invectives and blame... even if we lose.
We whacko birds still have to fight the battles that are risky and not guaranteed wins.
Whacko Birds, Senator McCain? To quote from one of my favorite movies, Act of Valor: Damn Few.
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