By Jeffrey Lord at Conservative Review
The other day I was a guest on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, and as I was waiting to go on I heard Laura discuss something I had not heard amid all the Trump-Cruz headlines. The subject was Marco Rubio, with Laura pointing out that while in June Rubio had said he was supportive of a pathway to citizenship, over the last weekend in Iowa he had said the pathway was “not a yes or no answer” because in part “there is no unanimity” in America on the issue.
Then there’s Speaker Paul Ryan, who admits that he read South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s State of the Union response ahead of time… and loved it. Which is to say he knew that Haley was going to rebuke Donald Trump (but not by name) for “being the siren call of the angriest voices.”
In a snapshot, there is exactly what is wrong with the GOP Establishment. Rubio is taking position X—this one on immigration—because “there is no unanimity” on the issue. And Ryan, who cheered on Haley, goes after Trump and his followers for being angry voices.
Let’s begin with Rubio and contrast his “no unanimity” remark with an excerpt from Ronald Reagan’s famous 1964 speech for Barry Goldwater that was titled “A Time for Choosing”:
This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
What did Reagan not say?
He did not get to the end of that second paragraph and add: “But we can’t take this position because there is no unanimity.” What is the difference between Reagan and Rubio? Reagan’s style of leadership was to say that America should go in a certain direction—and unapologetically lead in that direction. Rubio has just exemplified exactly what is wrong with the GOP Establishment by doing the opposite—saying that because there is not a unanimous belief in going in direction X, the answer is to cave, to accommodate. That is not leadership; that is followership.
What both Rubio and Ryan are exemplifying here are exactly the characteristics that are fueling the Trump-Cruz revolt of the party’s base.
Which brings us to Speaker Ryan. What ever happened to the young disciple of Jack Kemp—Kemp the guy who would roll his eyes at the elitists in his own party and took the slings and arrows of being called everything from an extremist to a juvenile to the “R” word (that being “racist,” which I saw myself when he was being protested by some idiot outside the HUD building Kemp was more than willing to buck the GOP Establishment, as he and his fellow members of the House “Conservative Opportunity Society” caucus did on a regular basis. Joined, but of course, by Newt Gingrich, who would lead the rebellion against the GOP Establishment in the House and finally win a GOP majority for the first time in forty years.
To recall Representatives Kemp and Gingrich battling the Old Guard (can you say “Bob Dole”?) that was trying to force a pro-tax increase plank in the 1984 GOP platform on which President Reagan would run for re-election was to behold serious conservatism in action. Kemp was nodding in agreement when Newt breezily suggested that Dole was “the tax collector for the welfare state.”
What both Rubio and Ryan are exemplifying here are exactly the characteristics that are fueling the Trump-Cruz revolt of the party’s base. Amid all of the noise out there on the primary trail I received an e-mail from a reader—a Trump supporter—that crystallized the problem. It seems his Republican congressman, now running ads boasting of his conservatism, was a “yes” vote for the Cromnibus monstrosity that was pushed by the GOP House leadership (Paul Ryan included). Said the reader in his e-mail: “There in a nutshell is why Trump is winning. We have elected all conservatives and what has it got us? Nothing!”
While I don’t agree with them, I can perfectly understand the angst of some of my conservative compadres over Donald Trump. But in all candor, as that note from a reader illustrates, too many “conservatives” have created the impression that they campaign one way and govern another altogether. Even the non-office holders, like those at National Review, spent their time four years ago pushing the decidedly un-conservative Mitt Romney for president, and are now baffled at Trump’s popularity. And all those Bushies out there who are frothing over Trump? The Wehners, Gersons and Roves? They took the GOP and tried to re-make it in the image of “compassionate conservatism,” aka RINOism, and wound up not only with a 22% approval rating for their departing president but with a seriously damaged Republican Party. In a very real sense they are responsible for the rise of both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Messrs Rubio and Ryan have made themselves into almost too perfect symbols of this problem. Rubio was once a Tea Party darling, and no sooner was he given his seat in the Senate than he was busily joining the Gang of Eight. Mr. Ryan took over the Speakership from John Boehner and promptly informed that he couldn’t do anything about the impending budget deal and that the process “stinks.” But who was in charge of the process? That would be Boehner and Ryan’s Republican colleagues. Ryan sounds eerily like the fireman who is secretly an arsonist, lighting fires and then disappearing, only to reappear racing to the scene with his fellow fire fighters to put out the blaze, asking them with wonder how in the world the fire could ever have gotten started in the first place.
So. Iowa looms. New Hampshire and South Carolina are coming soon after. It is abundantly clear that the base of the Republican Party is furious with its leadership. One can fill cyber space with the reasons why. But in a snapshot?
All you have to do is take a look at Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan and you will understand instantly.
… and now, in closing, a word about …
Albert, Prince of Dorkness, the Gorecal of Doom
The U.S.S. Algore embarks on its maiden voyage