As a Republican/Conservative electoral resurgence gains momentum it is appropriate to consider some of the opportunities and pitfalls the resurgence may entail.
The opportunities revolve around deconstructing the Progressive agenda that has taken center stage for the past two years. As we have in the past, we are rejecting that agenda; we’ve just never done so as quickly as we are now. To assume broad support for that deconstruction is reasonable. In a country where a 54% electoral victory is considered a mandate 62% of Americans reject the current agenda.
The nature of the political debate is also being rejected: the anger, the stage craft, the ideological nature of the debate, the hypocrisy, the absence of common sense solutions and the perception that the American public can be intimidated, overrun and beaten into submission by those elected to represent them is being firmly and overwhelmingly rejected.
Rejection of the current status quo specifically creates the expectation that a new Congress will take a new path, and most importantly, a new attitude. Republicans must take that implication as the serious leadership challenge that is, it is a core issue at the center of this year’s insurgency.
Representative Issa, for example, is clearly interested in oversight hearing payback. There are issues that demand more accountable oversight but he has clearly decided in advance who must provide the pound of flesh. Wrong! If a Republican House sees payback as the cause célèbre they will also be rejected and serve to create the context for a resurrection of the Progressive agenda two years from now. Rep. Issa is angry and frustrated but the mantle of leadership demands that those feelings be put aside in the interest of a critical agenda focused on policy.
Congress maintains the power of the purse; months of fights over new or corrective legislation can be trumped by defunding the worst of the sins. The President may veto such budget centric defunding but the political jeopardy of that option will be both clear and illustrative. Key issues are clear to all, spending, tax policy, immigration, pro-growth economic policy and job creation. Hauling AG Holder before the Judiciary Committee for rhetorical waterboarding is tempting, perhaps deserved, but does not address the core issues and should be approached with caution.
Republicans must avoid the projection of anger or glee at the opportunity for pay back, despite ample justification. The long political progression of tit for tat must be ended. Republicans will have the opportunity to end that progression. Forget about motives and personalities, focus on policy. There is, at a minimum, two years of work to do, focus on the work.
Republicans would be well advised to take note of this unattributed quotation;
“Success is not a state you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”