About Those Conservative ‘Rebels’
Channeling the frustration of many Republican political operatives, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel recently wrote the “real divisions in today’s Republican Party are not so much over ideology as they are over strategy.”
Instead, the division is between those who want to prevent the passage of bad bills that infringe on our constitutional rights and those who, as Strassel put it, “want to make some progress.” If we’ve learned anything over the last decade, it is that Washington-style progress is bad for Americans trying to earn an honest living. A corollary to that is politically driven tactics won’t win the battle of ideas and therefore won’t save the nation.
Lessons of the past notwithstanding, Strassel claims, “This was never about the principled versus the squishes.” Rather, on the gun control debate, “Republicans voting to proceed to a debate and votes wanted a political win, exposing Democratic divisions and forcing Mr. Obama to take sole responsibility for the defeat of his first second-term agenda item.”
Allowing the underlying bill (Reid-Schumer) to come to the floor may have exposed divisions on the left (never mind such divisions rarely result in political victories for the GOP), but it also increased the likelihood of the Schumer-Toomey-Manchin bill passing by eliminating a key procedural hurdle. Many conveniently forget there was momentum for a compromise bill (what would eventually become Schumer-Toomey-Manchin) prior to Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) filibuster threat and Heritage Action’s key vote alert.
As the Examiner’s Tim Carney explained, “With gun control, that [initial] pressure helped move a dozen Republicans to sign the filibuster letter. Eventually most Senate Republicans voted with Cruz, [Mike] Lee and [Rand] Paul to filibuster the motion to proceed.”
Early and decisive opposition clarified the debate for the American people, which proved to be crucial in the defeat of the Schumer-Toomey-Manchin bill and the protection of Americans’ constitutional rights.