No Replacement, No Vote
Last week, U.S. House speaker John Boehner backed down on immigration surrender. It took a firestorm of grassroots opposition to make the speaker drop Paul Ryan's cave-in to big business interests (led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and the left, arrayed throughout the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, show biz, academia, and whatever other crags and holes they inhabit. And Democrat-supporting Hispanic pressure groups, which the GOP establishment believes needs to be appeased.
Note that the speaker only backed down. The bone of immigration surrender is still lodged in Boehner's pearly-whites. The speaker isn't to be trusted -- on immigration reform and other vital issues. If recent history is the guide, Boehner's capacity to trim amply and fold fast is seemingly unlimited.
It's high time that the grassroots insists that Speaker Boehner and his lieutenants be replaced come January 2015. The same goes for Mitch McConnell and his crew. Republican candidates for Congress should be asked to pledge to jettison Boehner, McConnell, et al. If candidates don't do so, then grassroots conservatives and Tea Pparty patriots should withhold resources and votes. It's a tough approach, but the stakes are enormous.
Some GOP candidates are already promising to oust Boehner if elected in November. Kansas State Senator Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth) is challenging incumbent Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins for the GOP nomination. He's on record as supporting a new speaker. Same goes for Georgia U.S. House candidate John Stone, who's making his second bid to dislodge Democrat incumbent John Barrow.
House and Senate Republicans need fresh leadership comprised of no-apologies conservatives. Otherwise, 2015 could become the Year of GOP Capitulations rather than the year that congressional Republicans shrewdly positioned their party for the critical 2016 presidential sweepstakes.
A GOP Congress not only could shutdown President Obama, but, as importantly, push measures that give voters real alternatives to the Democrats poor, scandal-tainted governance. A Conservative-led Congress could pilot the GOP back to being undeniably for free enterprise, individual empowerment, localism (via renewed federalism), and against intrusive big government. Free market-oriented health care reform, for instance, fits neatly in all four categories.
A conservative Congress should redouble efforts to pursue the Obama scandals -- that's the Benghazi and IRS cover-ups. The NSA's domestic spying needs further vetting and exposure. Boehner and McConnell haven't been vigorous enough lately in pushing the president's scandals front and center and keeping them there.
The 2014 GOP battle cry should be about ending the Democrats' reign of "corruption, cronyism, and statism." Those same themes -- and variations -- could be carried into 2016.
The speaker means to resurrect Paul Ryan's immigration blueprint at some point, though not again this year. Even a pol as tin-eared and swayable as Boehner gets that bringing Ryan's plan to the House floor closer to the elections will engender raging controversy and splinter the GOP. The speaker humping for immigration surrender this year could be the last in a "long train of abuses" visited upon the base by establishment Republicans. A permanent fracturing of the GOP isn't far-fetched if the base is so grievously insulted and injured once again.
Certainly, a Boehner drive for an immigration sellout this year would seriously damage Republicans' chances of capturing the Senate. It could imperil the Republican House majority, if base voters turn off and stay home come November. (The midterms are primarily about mobilizing base voters).
Much more is at stake in the 2014 and 2016 elections than partisan political advantages. The nation's welfare and future are on the line -- and that's not standard election-year hyperbole. We're at an important fork in the nation's history. Will the revanchist left (via its organ, the Democratic Party) consolidate and advance the gains made during the Obama presidency, or will it be repudiated and supplanted by a revitalized conservative movement?
It's a solid bet that Boehner and McConnell don't see the midterms as a precursor to the colossal presidential contest in 2016, only as critical to their positions and power. With each fresh offense against the grassroots, the disconnect between the GOP establishment and the base widens. Boehner and McConnell typify the problem and serve the establishment as obstacles to conservative ascendancy.
There are, of course, practical considerations for candidates as they weigh opposing Boehner's reelection as speaker and McConnell's as either Senate minority or majority leader (provided McConnell wins what could be a tough reelection. The early betting is that McConnell will win; he's a wily campaigner with an instinct for the kill).
Boehner and McConnell have their hands firmly on the national party's money and resource spigots. They can most assuredly dry up national party support for GOP congressional candidates who declare their opposition to either man's leadership reelections. Most Washington PAC money will flow -- or not flow -- where directed by either man (or simply be ascertained by PACs sniffing the wind).
That's to be expected, isn't it? But there's more money and resources across America than are controlled by the GOP's congressional committees and Washington PACs. There are conservative donors and PACs, and there's the grassroots. Conservative congressional candidates need second-to-none fundraising plans and operations, low and higher dollar. Moreover, conservative grassroots groups need to maximize support to candidates in their states (and across state lines, when indicated) who pledge for GOP congressional leadership change.
During his tenure as speaker, Boehner has crumpled on tax, spending, and debt fights; rammed through a profligate farm bill with Democrat votes; and has failed, to date, to appoint a select committee to investigate Benghazi. The IRS investigations have lost steam, too. Democrats are adept at not only keeping "scandals" alive, but running hard with them during elections. The speaker is failing Republican congressional candidates by not stoking the Benghazi and IRS scandals to red hot (oh, and there's the trifling matter of justice to consider in both instances).
Of course, a GOP candidate who publicly pledges to oppose Boehner's or McConnell's leadership needs to have more going for him than that. What are his qualifications and experience to serve in office? Where does he stand on other important issues? Can he raise money and build grassroots support? Is he genuinely conservative?
The grassroots needs to carefully pick their candidates and fights. After all, there is only so much time and money. In primaries where there isn't a credible alternative to an establishment Republican, then the local grassroots needs to initiate voter education projects, designed to raise awareness about the need to replace the speaker. Those education projects should continue into competitive general election contests. That should be the extent of the grassroots involvement in elections where establishment-aligned candidates either fail to declare for a change in House or Senate GOP leadership. Or where candidates announce for current GOP congressional leaders. Otherwise, no support or votes. This sort of grassroots pressure might force some pliable establishment Republicans to yield.
The key to all this isn't just toppling Boehner and McConnell; it's about wresting the GOP from the establishment and making it a vehicle for grand reform, consistent with founding principles and liberty.
We'll close with Sun Tzu's eighteenth strategy from The Art of War:
If the enemy's army is strong but is allied to the commander only by money or threats then, take aim at the leader. If the commander falls the rest of the army will disperse or come over to your side. If, however, they are allied to the leader through loyalty then beware, the army can continue to fight on after his death out of vengeance.
Boehner's and McConnell's leaderships are about money (position and power, more broadly) and threats, strong-arming or enticing rank and file Republicans to tow the line. Core principles, and the passion principles evince, are secondary to these longtime Washington operators. Time for the grassroots to press the fight, to add more conservatives to congressional GOP caucuses. If enough conservatives are added, then the dominoes will fall... starting with Boehner and McConnell.