Full Caf Americano™
I’m sure that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan are good guys… All right, I’m not sure of that at all. One or two of them may have some strong points. Okay, maybe not two of them. I am pretty sure Paul Ryan is well intentioned though.
The thing is, Republicans are in a no-win situation. Not because their core ideals are so beyond the pale of what most Americans—even most conservatives—will accept, but because they have failed to recognize that their strategies are part of the problem. And, with a couple of notable exceptions, have been for years.
Decades ago, when Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Protection Act, every Republican on the Hill should have been in revolt. They should have been storming the Capitol steps in protest.
The NEPA was an enormously expensive Democrat power grab and Nixon signed the bill, not out of any deeply held concern for the environment, but because he was losing the media war on Vietnam and already looking at the next election cycle.
Instead, Republicans in the House and Senate thought of ways they could make a disastrous liberal bureaucratic boondoggle look like they were protecting the interests of constituencies in their states and districts. Republicans have been caving on the environment ever since.
Four decades later unelected bureaucrats appointed, most recently by a certain jug-eared chief executive, have run the incandescent light bulb business out of the country and are doing their very best to regulate the coal and petroleum industries out as well.
Republicans have been making “half-a-loaf” deals with Democrats for at least 70 years — when they aren’t outright caving in — in fear of taking a media shellacking for doing the right, albeit sometimes unpopular, thing and standing up for their conservative values.
You name it. From communists (and now radical Islamist sympathizers) in the State Department to gun control and gay marriage, there is always a Republican trying to strike some kind of middle-ground deal, if not just simply hunting a hiding place inside his or her office, to weather the bad press they get for being conservative.
The brilliance of Ronald Reagan was that he didn’t. He didn’t cut deals to cater to a corrupt media and he didn’t hide when the chips were down. Politicians and pundits were astounded when he had the audacity to tell Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” The Left laughed him to scorn.
But Reagan understood people. not just the American people but the human race and its inherent desire for freedom from the encumbrances of government.
He understood that conservative ideas, when properly framed, were more popular than liberal ideas. He understood left-wing media demagoguery and that addressing the public honestly and openly with the facts could defeat it. Reagan understood messaging and optics; he was after all an actor and knew the value of a good set and a well-scripted scene.
The Republican Party leadership in Washington know none of these things. John Boehner, as honorably intentioned as he may be (I was just kidding in my opening paragraph), should not be let near a hot microphone, much less a speaker’s gavel. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and, God knows, Paul Ryan are little if any better.
Surely there must be someone in the House who has at least the rudimentary qualities to articulate the conservative message to Americans, but he or she has been nowhere in evidence lately.