The Principled Five vs. America
Once again, Republicans are acting like complete dingbats -- especially senators Lee, Paul, Murkowski, Collins, and Tillis, all of whom announced their decision to vote “yes” for the disapproval resolution on the President’s declaration of a national emergency at the border. As if we hadn’t heard it before, they argue there are constitutional principles involved they cannot, in good faith, contravene.
I know these senators believe they are better than Democrats when it comes to adhering to constitutional principles. The consider themselves purists in the loftiest sense. As a Tea Party conservative who spent eight years agitating for those very same principles, I get that. But I’m also not stupid, and there comes a time when practicality trumps principle. In times of war, we often confront such conflicts when we have to do what’s right at the time -- let’s say killing a civilian -- even though it violates the Geneva Convention, our Rules of Engagement, and our morals. But, in the calculus at the moment, if that one civilian life can save a multitude of troops and/or other civilians, we would likely act accordingly. These are never pretty decisions to make. But life isn’t always fair, pure, or principled.
What is the sense preening like proud peacocks because of your purity in regard to principles, only to lose big time on the most important issue of our time? Securing our nation’s borders is the only way to preserve and form a more perfect union, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. Without secure borders, all of the foregoing is in jeopardy.
If anything, securing our borders is as much a constitutional principle as separation of powers. Securing our borders is in our constitutional DNA, it’s a norm of international law, it comports with our national laws even though they aren’t being enforced, and it is undeniably the professed will of the people. The Principled Five were unquestionably elected to do our will and I have no doubt that includes securing the border and building a wall… even if doing so might thwart other constitutional principles. But it is highly dubious whether they have a principled leg to stand on because Congress delegated to the President the power to declare national emergencies and it is even arguably within the Executive’s power to declare a national emergency when our national security is directly threatened.
So how principled are their principles, really?
In this particular war for our borders, we the people and the GOP have long confronted both legislative battles and now a separation of powers battle between the Congress and the Executive. We lose each time this issue comes up, even when Republicans own it all -- House, Senate, and 1600 Penn Ave.
The time to argue your principles is past. It’s time to play the political game and this may very well be the last time to play the last card in our hand that could trump left-wing obstruction when it comes to border security. That would be the National Emergency card.
But, in the name of principles, the Principled Five are doing everything they can to… undermine our principles.
It’s not a sure thing that Trump will be re-elected. It is more likely than not, at this point in time, that Trump will lose, given Republican divisions and basic incompetence when it comes to running campaigns. Moreover, Trump lost hard in the mid-terms in decisive states that put him over the top in 2016 (Wisconsin and Michigan, for example) and came way too close in elections in Florida and Texas that should have been ironclad. He lost the popular vote in 2016 and the Democrat machine is working hard, while we are infighting about principles, at taking us down in 2020.
Maybe Trump will be re-elected. I pray that he is, but we have to prepare for the fact he might not be -- in which case, with the Democrats in power, the border will remain open. That means this national emergency declaration is likely our last chance to build the wall. Everything else has been tried. We are now at the point of raising private funds, having private contractors offer to build portions of it, re-allocating funds from the defense budget, and declaring a national emergency. The last remaining tools in the president’s toolbox are of no use if the namby-pambies in the schoolyard come along and take them away because “it isn’t right and they’re going to tell the teacher.”
What the Principled Five don’t understand, in addition to the fact this is our last best hope for border security, is that politics is war by another name. Why oh why do they still not get this? We are fighting for the soul of this country. Our future. The future that our kids haven’t yet figured out is a better course for this country than the one they’ve been brainwashed to believe is the key to happiness and justice. So, man up, grow a pair and get cracking.
I can guarantee that on this issue, memories will not be short and any Republican senator who votes to disapprove the President’s declaration will not be re-elected. Don’t believe me? Which is an easier campaign sell to conservative voters? I had to let my separation of powers principles slide a bit to secure the border and adhere to other competing constitutional principles like providing for domestic tranquility and the common defense because it was in the best interests of our nation, and it is why you put me in office; or I stuck to my constitutional principles to the bitter end even though I have now played a major role in continuing to foment a humanitarian crisis at the border and allowing thousands to lawlessly flood this country. But I should get a gold star for sticking to my principles. Please vote for me again.
If Trump is not elected in 2020 and our borders continue to remain as vulnerable as they are today, every principle the five senators think they are fighting for will go down in flames. It will be a nation of laws that don’t matter, double standards that benefit those in power at the cost to the little guy, and our rights will continue to erode. Republicans might never regain power -- certainly not in my lifetime. As the younger, brainwashed, and very sullied masses take control of this country as the rest of us phase out of existence, bolstered by uncontrolled numbers of immigrants who feed the Democrat machine, conservatism and the secure borders that come with it will be anachronistic.
There comes a time -- and I’m so tired of writing and saying this -- when you have to tamp down on the principles to get what you also know is right. Thus, while voting against the President’s National Emergency Declaration for border security might, in some rightwing corners, be laudable, it benefits only one group -- the Democrats -- and has only one outcome: a continuation of the status quo. This course of action by any Republican senator at this juncture, is dangerous. To obstruct a president in your own party, whom you agree with on this particular issue, knowing that your own party wasn’t able to get the job when it controlled all of the power in Washington, and further knowing that the Democrats will never allow anything to get done as long as they have any power, is the height of asininity. It is just plain wrong. And senators Lee, Murkowski, Collins, Tillis, and Paul have not only failed their constituents, but this country and, ironically, the Constitution.
The President has to fight every Democrat and #NeverTrumper on border security. He doesn’t need the added burden the Principled Five place on him. If Republicans continue to play tiddlywinks while the Democrats lob missiles, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who wins this game.