The Republican Party has never been so bipolar in history.
On one hand, Republican activists are basking in the glow of their historic sweep to control the U.S. Senate and House. GOP majorities of this scope haven’t been seen for decades.
And activists – who poured record amounts of money, time, and effort into helping candidates – want action. They want a muscular response to Obama’s lawless and unconstitutional usurpation of power.
But if you’re one of these activists, brace yourself for disappointment from inside the beltway…
While activists celebrate, the attitudes and views on Capitol Hill are at the polar opposite end of the spectrum. Rather than feeling empowered by the new clout, the Republican leaders are afraid. They’re frightened of making mistakes later chronicled in the media, fearful of alienating big businesses and donors, and they’re disdainful of the activists who have fueled their new success.
Talk about a quandary…
Tug-of-War for Power
The very same leadership behavior displayed by these Republican leaders is identical to that of House Speaker John Boehner. This is why he’s likely to sail to another term as Speaker of the House.
Conservatives know Boehner has blocked all of their attempts to change the culture and policy of the U.S. government, but they’re powerless to defeat him. Boehner is the master of the carrot and stick. He rewards the subservient, and he viciously punishes his detractors.
As a result, most Republican members know that if they criticize Boehner, they’ll lose coveted committee positions. But if they bow to his wishes, they’ll rise in the ranks – hence, the incredibly docile leaders of the caucus around Boehner.
This is why outsiders have been working so hard to remove Boehner.
Scribe Erick Erickson of RedState.com pretty much summed up the feeling of grassroots conservatives when he recently said: “House conservatives must summon the courage to oppose Boehner’s nomination on the floor in January. It’s a moral imperative. You cannot consistently complain about leadership’s many failures – and the treachery involved with a speaker fresh off a successful wave election conspiring with President Obama to fund amnesty and enjoy a celebratory phone call in the aftermath – and then vote for him to continue in this role. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, that’s the definition of insanity, and it’s enabled by a vote for Rep. John Boehner.”
In speaking with conservative Members of the House, I’ve found they have sympathy for this position, but they’re personally too concerned with their own committee assignments to take any action.
Ultimately, Boehner has control of the levers of power, and he ruthlessly uses them.
Different Party, Same Policy?
While I wholeheartedly agree with Erickson and the other commentators and leaders calling for Boehner’s ouster, my conversations lead me to believe that any efforts to do so would be futile.
This is why I expect Washington, D.C. to act pretty much the same with Republicans in charge of Congress as it has under the Democrats.
Choreography and rhetoric will change, but policy will stay the same.
Layne Hansen pretty much summed it up writing at the American Thinker, “It’s time to stop thinking of John Boehner and the rest of the Republican congressional leadership as being cowardly, and recognize them for what they are: part of The Ruling Class that believes it has the right to tell the rest of us how to live.”
And tell us, they will.
Your eyes on the Hill,