Can a political party that refuses to challenge the most vicious mischaracterizations of its views win at a national level? The Republican Party seems intent on finding out.
The Republican Party–the allegedly conservative party–claims to stand for economic freedom. The 2012 Republican Party platform proclaims, “We are the party of maximum economic freedom and the prosperity freedom makes possible.” How is it consistent with the principles of economic freedom–that a worker should be free to set his own wage requirements–to say that government can force an individual to work a job that violates their personal religious principles?
Yet the rush to trample economic and religious freedom in an effort to save face with The New York Times was breathtaking. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who used to be one of the great champions of freedom before he became a Senator, said he hoped Gov. Jan Brewer would veto the religious freedom legislation. Sen. John McCain followed suit.
Conservatives have some allies in Congress who recognize the danger of rolling back the reforms that are locked into current law, but their efforts to protect those changes are being sabotaged by Republican leadership.
Speaking at Heritage Action’s Conservative Policy Summit, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Jeb HensarlingHouse Republican Average90%, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pledged, “I will not be part of any program, policy, act that hastens the bankruptcy of a program that is already underwater.” Unfortunately, though, CQ recently reported that Hensarling has been “sidelined” despite Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) having “repeatedly promised to let committee chairmen guide policy in the House.”
Unfortunately, courage is in short supply in Washington. Republican leaders have no compelling vision for the future, which means their only strategy is to recede to the shadows and hope that Obama’s unpopularity produces a Republican Senate. Majorities are important. But majorities with ideas are essential if we are ever to dismantle the mess this administration has made. We owe it to the American people to show them how we would govern as conservatives. The best way to do that is to legislate in the House.
America established a statutory debt ceiling in 1917 as part of the Second Liberty Bond Act. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Services, the debt ceiling “imposes a form of fiscal accountability that compels Congress and the President to take visible action to allow further federal borrowing when the federal government spends more than it collects in revenues.”
Last year, many in the consulting class warned America had turned a corner, and they urged conservatives to moderate their principles in pursuit of electoral victory.
After a year of policy defeats on guns, amnesty and cap-and-trade, President Obama’s former press secretary Robert Gibbs declared 2013 the “lost year for the president.” While our President may be lost and rudderless, the country is not without visionary leaders.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) did not bother responding to the President’s liberal laundry list; rather he put forth an unapologetically conservative and positive agenda that spoke to “those Americans who may feel they have been forgotten by both political parties.”