Krauthammer And Other Luminaries Were Wrong
Charles Krauthammer appeared with Bill O’Reilly Tuesday night. Krauthammer is obviously very bright, literate and politically studied, and recent appearances have shown him to be a brave, stable and delightful individual. If that sounds respectful and admiring, it is meant to. I honestly feel that way, and it is only appropriate to say before you detail your conviction about how he is mistaken. He repeated the insistence of so many Republican political calculators that Republicans are divided mostly by tactics, not by ideology or objectives. And I believe they are in great part right about that. But they are wrong about which tactics are a better pursuit of those objectives. Someone recently put it succinctly on the Internet: “Losers focus on how not to lose.”
These men, particularly thoughtful ones like Krauthammer and George Will, are not liberals. And I don’t use the term “RINO,” which Krauthammer and O’Reilly discussed and is often hurled and lamented. I remember the birth of the term, which actually referred to Democrats who politically switched parties during the Reagan tide, without necessarily changing their ideals: Republicans In Name Only. But there are a couple of considerations that need to be raised. First of all, as I wrote recently, with some exceptions this tactical divide is a largely generational one. The divide seems to center near my age. I’m 56 and have been a philosophical Republican all of my life. I also believe that the truth has its own virtue and power and deserves to be advocated for irrespective of polls or speculations about the other side. I don’t think it’s an accident that those Senators who voted against cloture and allowing Harry Reid to restore Obamacare funding are mostly younger men. Particularly Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX), Mike Lee (UT) and Marco Rubio (FL) in their early 40s and Rand Paul (KY) who is 50, are the ones who led the cause. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) was an exception at 79 among the 19 who voted with the younger Senators to oppose cloture, but he’s a conservative Oklahoman with an outlook like mine. Frankly by now, I’m not at all certain that The United States can get out of the deep mess we are in. But if we can, it will be through bold and purposive individuals like these, not through the timorous habitual losers. I’d love to hear at long last how they are finally going to restore lost American principle and prosperity.
The Senators who shunned the assertive strategy, very thoughtful talk-show hosts Dennis Prager and Michael Medved whose programs I enjoy (though their repeated statements on this issue irked me) and writers Krauthammer and Will are all over 60. Why is that relevant? I’m old enough to well remember the Republican dark days of a seemingly permanent Congressional minority and a narrow media of less than a handful of television networks and newspapers that were basically The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest who followed their lead. Republicans were resigned to nearly complete opposition, political calculation and thanking whatever gods for what morsels of victory they could achieve. These surrender Republicans said we saw how this strategy goes in 1995. But at that point we were in the earliest stages of emerging from that previous situation. It is quite different now with talk-radio, pay television and the Internet. But evidently it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. They were sure they were bound to lose. As Medved said, Obama said he would veto it and he would. So what’s the point of making a fuss, right? Prager pounds it that to push defunding Obamacare was to place feelings above rational reality. So forget your constitutional authority and responsibility to approve spending. You’re going to lose, don’t you know?
Whether Obama or Reid would arrest the process or not, that should be entirely their choice to reject funding of everything ONLY to protect Obamacare funding, which we should recall is an UNPOPULAR law. And what if Republicans had stood united against cloture? Reid/Obama would have forced a shutdown? But they forced us there anyway, without having to hold out for Obamacare all alone. They remained firm and Republicans eventually caved. Don’t pick these Republicans in Poker. With O’Reilly, Krauthammer persisted as he always has on referring to his disagreement with those who followed “the shutdown strategy.” But no one ever voted for a shutdown of the government. Every vote fully funded government EXCEPT for Obamacare. And why do these conservatives give a pass to Reid and Obama who refused to negotiate, in effecting the shutdown? But they’ll say Republicans were going to lose the argument, so they might as well have called for a shutdown. They point to polls that showed the public blamed Republicans. But we shouldn’t determine right action based on polls. They can be manipulated. They are a mere snapshot at best that can be changed. And advocating for and pursuing what is right is a DUTY. Isn’t it interesting how some imagine you will fare better politically if you shirk duty and act ambiguously? I’m sorry, I don’t buy that. And in fact, I submit that the country is now in the titanic hole that it is, precisely because for 60+ years Republicans HAVE been recalcitrant and ambiguous.
IF you believe in the truth of the objectives that I do, represent them boldly and clearly and let the people take responsibility for a clear choice. If they so choose, I’ll go down with the truth. But I also believe that representing it is the best course to win the argument and actually achieve our objectives.