Why Vote Republican?

Every two years before the midterm elections, we hear Republican candidates promise that if elected they will rein in the Obama administration excesses – Obamacare, amnesty, trillion-dollar deficits, increasing government regulation, legislative transparency, and unlawful executive orders.  Like Lucy promising Charlie Brown a shot at the football, Republicans promise each time that things will be different.  Yet Lucy continues to lift the football at the last minute, leaving the hapless Charlie Brown kicking at air.

Immediately after the November midterms, the president announced his amnesty plan.  Republicans, fresh from landslide victories in congressional, state, and local elections, were well-positioned to flex their newfound muscle by re-establishing constitutional checks and balances on an overzealous executive branch.  Instead, Senate Majority Leader McConnell folded like a cheap suit, abandoning efforts to defund President Obama’s amnesty efforts.

Tell me again why we need Republican majorities in Congress.

Sure, we get the usual excuses.  Harry Reid and the minority control the Senate to such an extent that Reid can force Republicans to abandon an extremely popular position.  That pesky filibuster – the same one that Democrats eliminated a few years ago when they were in power and wanted to bypass Republican resistance for judicial and executive appointments.  Why can’t Senator McConnell trigger the same “nuclear option” now?

What about Obamacare?  It remains alive and well despite Republican promises to “repeal and replace.”  The truth about Benghazi remains elusive, now over two years after the fact, despite recent e-mails debunking then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s explanations.  Lois Lerner’s missing e-mails remain elusive, without explanation or accountability.  The deficits remain at the trillion-dollar level, with the national debt spiraling out of control.  And the government is now taking over the internet via a secret plan, without protest from Congress.

Republican voters wanted the opposite.  Would things really be different if Pelosi and Reid still ran Congress rather than Boehner and McConnell?  The left’s agenda marches merrily along, with little resistance other then a few words or excuses.

The latest excuse from Republican leadership is that they need the White House before they can accomplish anything.  Really?  What the Republicans need is backbone and leadership.  Ronald Reagan ushered in hugely effective income tax cuts while working with a Democrat Congress.  A Republican Congress enacted welfare reform despite initial opposition from Democrat President Bill Clinton.  A Democrat Congress was able to raise taxes despite Republican George “read my lips, no new taxes” Bush in the White House.  Legislation can and does move forward despite divided government.

Margaret Thatcher told us, “Consensus is the absence of leadership.”  If the Republican leadership is waiting for consensus with the Democrats, that will never happen.  Rather, they should be making their case, standing by their principles and promises, and fulfilling the mandate they were given last November.  Republican voters don’t expect victory with each issue, but they do expect a principled stand and a fight, not a concession at the end of the first quarter.

Let the president wield his veto pen.  Congress has given him next to nothing to veto.  In his six years as president, he has vetoed three bills, with two of those during his first two years in office, when the Democrats controlled Congress.  Republicans have controlled the House since 2010 and the House and Senate currently, yet we have only one veto in the last five years, and that within the last month.

There are still constitutional options for Republicans against the president bypassing Congress entirely.  Defunding and impeachment are both politically challenging, but legitimate nonetheless.  But the Republican leadership have taken these off the table, further limiting their options.

Giving in to Democrat opposition, as they have done with amnesty, debt ceilings, continuing spending resolutions, and other “line in the sand” issues leaves voters to scratch their heads, wondering what’s different having Congress under Republican control.

The 2016 elections will be pivotal for Republicans, with a chance to win the White House and maintain control of Congress.  Unless they make the case as to why this is important, voters will tune out and stay home, as they did in 2012.  If Republican voters believe, to borrow from Mrs. Clinton, “What difference does it make?,” they will stay home again in 2016.  The Republican Congress, as evidenced by the amnesty capitulation, is doing little to help.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS, a Denver-based physician, is an advocate of smaller, more efficient government.  Twitter @retinaldoctor.

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