(Centennial Fellow) In the aftermath of every Republican Presidential defeat in the last half century the Democrats aided and abetted by the “mainstream” media have declared the GOP to be dead, on the “wrong side of history’’ and about to disappear like the Whigs.
The template for this tactic was set following Lyndon Johnson’s thrashing of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Amazingly the Democrats showed no inclination to abandon this tactic even after losing five of the next six Presidential elections- four of them by landslides.
Even their worst defeats never called into question the sublime virtues of the Progressive Agenda to which they have been devoted since the days of Woodrow Wilson. Instead they blamed their losses on Republican “dirty tricks”, stupid voters, unworthy candidates or campaign misstep.
To understand the persistence of this ideological conviction one must view the Democratic Party in its’ historic context. Going all the way back to the party’s founder Thomas Jefferson who saw much to admire in the French Revolution there has been an element in the Democratic party that has had an enduring fascination with European Leftism.
Philosophically this belief system espoused the vague but attractive principles of “equality” and “social justice”. In practice these principles disguised an unchanging commitment to State Planning (Big Government) and Income redistribution (“Fairness”).
In this Socialist/Progressive world view the enemy is invariably Capitalism in general and the “Rich” in particular.
In the campaign of 2012 the doctrine of Big Government/Income Redistribution found an advocate of remarkable skill in Barack Obama who inveighed endlessly against “millionaires and billionaires”, and promised to aggressively tax and regulate the “fat cats” and “greed-mongers” of Wall Street.
As we know by a margin of 51% to 48% this campaign of unalloyed Class Warfare- the Politics of Envy- succeeded.
Despite the relative closeness of the election the Democrats are acting as if they have a clear mandate to aggressively implement the above noted Progressive Agenda.
In the Democratic view the only obstacles to these plans are a badly outdated Constitution and the appalling unwisdom of American voters in granting Republicans continuing control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a majority of state governments.
The Democrats however believe that these obstacles can be overcome if they persuade a significant number of Republicans that the only way the GOP can get on the “Right Side of History”, and avoid the fate of the Whigs is to start acting (and voting) like Democrats.
With mock solicitousness Democrats and their media echo chamber urge Republicans to yield to “historical inevitability” and start supporting Amnesty, Gay Marriage, more taxes, more regulation, and less freedom because it’s the “right thing to do”.
In return for this betrayal of their principles Republicans can hope to someday “rise from the dead” as a political party, and maybe- just maybe- win a County Council election or two, somewhere down the road.
What all this amounts to is as follows: Having thoroughly “Europeanized” themselves over the last half century, Democrats are urging Republicans to do the very same thing.
The bottom line- should this happen- is that the United States would continue to have a two party system, however, both parties would be Liberal, just like our European role models.
It is more than ironic that Republicans and by implication our whole country are being pushed leftward toward the Socialist Welfare State at precisely the moment we are seeing that model beginning to crumble in Europe.
The crisis of the European Union derives from long standing inherent contradictions best summed up by the famous dictum of Margaret Thatcher: “The Problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”.
The looming economic catastrophe in Europe is simply a more advanced case of the same disease that is already metastasizing in the United States where the exponential growth of ballooning debt and deficits is on track to wreck the world’s greatest economy and destroy the American Dream in the process.
This stark object lesson unfolding before our eyes both here and in Europe should be more than sufficient to deter any Republican even toying with the idea that the Democratic Agenda is the way to go.
So, if becoming Democrat-Lite is a non-starter for Republicans, what is the better road for the GOP going forward?
First, Republicans must recognize that they have more control over the “Fiscal Cliff” than they realize. Without delay Speaker John Boehner should give the following speech.
“As it is now clear to all that President Obama and the Democrats have zero interest in real compromise or negotiation, the House of Representatives must do all in its power to avert economic catastrophe for the American people.
Up until now we had hoped for a ‘Grand Bargain’ that served all Americans. In Good Faith we even offered to discuss the issue of revenues though only in the context of reforming the Tax Code which all serious parties agree needs to be done. We hoped that before the end of this session a beginning could have been made. The only response to these hopes has been endless demagoguery by Democrats. All our efforts have been rebuffed.
The Senate has passed a bill that makes permanent the Bush Tax Cuts for the Middle Class- 98% of the population.
Until now Republicans had sought to preserve the Bush Tax Cuts for all Americans including our small businesses who must be a principal driver of any real economic recovery.
It is now clear however that as recent remarks by Senator Murray, Governor Dean and others illustrate, the Democrats want to raise everybody’s taxes. As Governor Dean very candidly put it: “Raising taxes on the wealthiest 2 % won’t give us anywhere near the revenue we need. We must raise everyone’s taxes, including the Middle Class”.
Thus we see the Democrat’s pose as defenders of the Middle Class as a sham and a deceit. They want Middle Class Taxes to go up, but only if Republicans alone get the blame.
The House of Representatives is refusing to accommodate them. This day we have passed the Senate bill making the Bush Tax Cuts for the Middle Class permanent without any changes.
We now call upon President Obama to do what he has repeatedly promised: Sign the Bill into Law on the very day it achieves final passage.
Doing so will give tax stability and predictability to the vast majority of the American people, and will be an enormous boon to the American economy.
At the same time we sadly note and decry President Obama’s unswerving determination to wage class warfare. Tax rates on the upper 2% of earners will rise on January 1st not because it is just but because such result is the ideological “pound of flesh” that he demands.
The severe damage that will be done to our economy will not fall upon the “billionaires and millionaires” the President endlessly decries, but instead will devastate the small businesses that are the principal job creators in America.
So the end result will be less revenue for the Treasury and fewer jobs for the American people.
Also this day the House of Representatives has passed an appropriation that fully restores the Sequestration of Funds for the Department of Defense.
Every dollar of this appropriation has been paid for by spending cuts enumerated in the bill.
We do this to avoid what Defense Secretary Panetta rightly called a “catastrophe” and a ”hollowing out of the U.S. military” that would dramatically increase the vulnerability of our people from the many threats posed by this dangerous world.
We call upon President Obama and the Democratic party to step away from the “War on the Military” and instead support this bill which is essential not just for our brave men and women now serving in Harm’s Way but also for the continuation of the United States’ indispensable role as World Leader.
My Fellow Americans, today we in the House have done what we can and what we must. So much more needs to be done, but we cannot do it alone.
Finally, let me thank you for the chorus of support we have heard from across our great country. It is you who are the vital foundation of the work we do this and every day in the People’s House.
God Bless You and God Bless America”.
If Speaker Boehner were to do and say the above the following things would be achieved:
1. GOP would have saved the Middle Class- the 98 %
2. Obama would lose his most devastating one liner: “Republicans are holding the Middle Class Hostage to save their billionaire and
Millionaire friends “
3. GOP would disassociate itself from Tax Increases on Anybody thus uniting the House Caucus
4. Democrats would be deprived of the trillions in future revenues that they have been lusting for.
5. Obama and Reid would bear the burden of the Defense Sequester.
6. The largest single element in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ – Middle Class Tax Increases- would be averted.
7. 7. The pernicious extension of unemployment benefits- The Democrats' hoped for road to a permanent dole- would be avoided.
8. Advantage in any future negotiations would shift from Obama to GOP
Someone have a better Idea? Time is Running Out.
William Moloney is a Centennial Institute Fellow and former Colorado Education Commissioner. His columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post and Human Events.