The Republicans’ Confidence Crisis

The Republicans’ Confidence Crisis

In the age of political correctness, Republicans who say and do least are king. Even they believe it.
Amy Otto
By

The British have lamented about their loss of cultural confidence. Their discussion of the dangers of descending into negativity against Western culture offers some worthy lessons for the Republican Party:

We are faced by a dilemma: on the one hand, we cherish the ability and freedom to doubt as the foundation of all that is good in our societies; on the other, we recognize that radical skepticism is not necessarily a good standpoint from which to resist the encroachments of those who are not in the least skeptical, and indeed believe themselves to be possessed of the unique truth.

A certain crew spends much time basically embarrassed about Republican voters instead of recognizing they are fighting an opponent who “believes themselves to be possessed of the unique truth.”

If you need proof Democrats believe they own “truth,” look no further than their reaction to the recent Halbig ruling, which acknowledged that words strung together and codified as law have plain meaning. The Affordable Care Act does not allow for federal healthcare subsidies in states that do not set up an insurance exchange. Despite that, and this, this, and this, Democrats keep insisting they are right, and everyone else including words they wrote just a few years ago are wrong.

Democrats now also insist the “truth” regarding the border crisis is in no way tied to President Obama’s unilateral refusal to enforce federal immigration law. House leaders suffering from a crisis in confidence lend credence to this falsehood by panicking at a proposal in a bill they were assembling July 31 to forbid Obama to indefinitely keep illegal youth immigrants inside the United States. Rich Lowry’s short take proved pretty accurate after the vote count fell apart:

The agony of the House border bill seems to have two causes:

1) It has too many substantive weaknesses and loopholes for a bill that is supposed to buttress enforcement

2) It fails to address the president’s looming lawlessness in his contemplated new DACA. It seems the bare minimum Republicans could ask for in a border bill would be a provision denying the president the ability to waive more immigration laws. Yet, leadership has been resistant about talking about Obama’s potential new DACA, let alone including anything on it in the bill. Under heavy conservative pressure, it promised a mostly symbolic stand-alone measure.

House Leadership yet again could not count votes on an immigration package meant to address our border crisis. There has been little discussion of how “leadership” has perpetually failed to count votes before they bring bills to the floor. Instead, it’s “Ted Cruz’s fault” Republicans can’t count. Leadership hasn’t allowed one discussion inquiring how our billions spent on border security can still yield an unsecured border. Instead, they begin by compromising, agreeing to spend even more money while ignoring policies that have prompted this new crisis at the border (namely Obama’s “Deferred Action for Child Arrivals”).

“But Harry Reid,” you say? Well that’s even more reason to put together a package your base wants and go home and fundraise the heck off it. That’s what Team Obama would do. Republicans cannot fix the border crisis with this president, just like they cannot repeal Obamacare. Stop worrying about “how the base sounds” and start worrying about getting your base out to vote.

Democrats’ Full-Out Offense Versus Republicans’ Reflexive Self-Doubt

House leadership is capitulating to a game Republicans can never win. Neither party’s “base” will ever sound polished and media savvy, precisely because that isn’t their job. They’re normal Americans who aren’t prioritizing sound bites, show votes, and fundraising email hooks. The base expects their leaders to articulate their beliefs effectively, not attempt to brush them off.

Meanwhile Reid and Democrats care little about “how the base sounds.” They spend zero time trying to manage the language from their constituents because they know it doesn’t matter and it’s not possible anyway. While it’s painful to admit, unabashedly pushing the progressive agenda is proving quite effective. If the political counterpoint to this feels encumbered by believing its party owes apologies for racism, nativism, and sexism, it may prove challenging to mount a defense. While rational evaluation on the Right is a feature, not a bug, it’s often exploited by Democrats, who appear to have an affinity for totalitarian alignment.

Having perfected the art of weaponized political correctness, Democrats exploit this weakness. Like the Death Star’s exhaust vent, Democrats fire the “mean torpedo” to induce Republican tactical implosion. Republicans plagued by D.C. Stockholm syndrome lower their heads and grasp for “compassionate” labels. They feel shame for their base’s insistence on a secure border and concern about turning pockets across the country into refugee camps. So instead of supporting their own constituents and putting forward a bill that reflects the desires of their voters, they compromise not with Democrats but with themselves. They say the reason is politics, but it’s more craven. They seek a talking point to bargain with a media that won’t bother to cover it anyway. In effect they seek to say little and do less because in the age of political correctness, those who say and do the least are king.

For a taste of how the Republican Party could sound, look no further than Rep. Tom Marino, who by merely stating facts infuriated Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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For a party that should naturally have more comfort with free speech, dynamic change, and risk, its leadership appears built for a rotary-phone world. There’s risk with Marino’s approach, but also reward. Public opinion is shifting dramatically on this issue away from President Obama. A call has been made before at this publication, but it could not be clearer now. The Republican Party needs leaders who recognize the stakes and are up to the task.

Amy Otto’s work has also been published at Townhall, Pocket Full of Liberty, and the UK site The Conservative Woman. She has co-hosted The Wrap and Splintered Caucus, weekly podcasts that covered culture and politics. Follow her on Twitter, @AmyOtto8.
Photo By: Medill DC

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