In a National Journal article last week, Congressional Republicans whined about dozens of GOP incumbents being outraised by Democrat challengers. According to the elite, this is not supposed to happen; incumbents almost always raise more money than challengers. If the Republican establishment spent more time doing what they campaigned on, then maybe their base would be more energized.
The Republicans were given control of Congress because of Obamacare. For four elections the Republican establishment kept saying give us power, and we will get rid of Obamacare. The base rose up and gave the establishment the House in 2010. In 2014, the base came through once again and gave the establishment the Senate. Finally, in 2016 the Republican base gave Republicans control of everything the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. The Republicans have only had full control of the government for 16 years out of the last 100, and what did they do with it? Fail.
Republicans were given the House, Senate, and Presidency for many reasons and one of them was getting rid all of Obamacare. The government intrusion into the healthcare market had dire consequences that still reverberate today. Obamacare has stifled job growth and raised insurance premiums for millions of Americans. It was a rallying cry for millions of Republican base voters. Not one Republican ran an election campaign on keeping Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) even stated, “should be repealed root and branch,” when speaking about the abomination. Despite the bluster from Republicans in campaigns, most of Obamacare remains intact.
The rising national debt was another reason Republicans were able to regain control of the government. For eight years under President Obama, the national debt ballooned to unfathomable numbers just two decades ago. Under Obama, the national debt was raised by 74 percent or $8.588 trillion. Republicans were furious at this and promised to balance the budget if they had control of the government. Last time anyone checked, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that would make Obama proud.
To add insult to injury, after Republican Congressional leadership worked with the Democrat party to give them almost everything they wanted in the budget, leadership allowed a vote on a balanced budget amendment to take place. The amendment failed with several Republicans voting against the measure knowing it was a meaningless vote because if leadership cared about a balanced budget, it would have had the vote before the omnibus vote.
The latest slap in the face to the conservatives of the Republican Party is the news that leadership is working on an immigration bill, that is, amnesty. There is now talk the establishment is working to get an immigration bill passed before the primary, something the less than a third of the American believe should be a priority.
President Trump won the election when no one, including the Republican establishment, believed he could. President Trump’s stance on illegal immigration was particularly irksome to the establishment since the 2012 Romney election autopsy report had told Republicans to pander to illegal immigrants. President Trump was right, and the establishment was wrong, but the establishment continues to push amnesty. How is passing amnesty going to get the Republican base excited enough to donate money and get out and vote?
The Republicans were able to get the tax bill passed with zero help from the Democrat Party. The vast majority of Americans saw their pay increase as a result of the tax reform bill. Millions of Americans were also given bonuses in the thousands as a direct result of the bill. How are Democrats going to campaign on not voting for tax cuts when they had the chance?
Not only did the tax bill put more money in people’s pockets, it also repealed the individual mandate of Obamacare. It allowed for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The extremely unpopular provision of the healthcare abomination taxed people that could not afford health insurance. The tax cost hardworking Americans thousands a year in penalties. The Democrats are going to have a tough time trying to explain to people that cannot afford insurance their plan to fine them for not being able to afford insurance.
Another high note for the Republicans is the passage of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The legislation allows the Secretary of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to fire employees for cause. Prior to the law’s passage, it was almost impossible to fire an employee of the VA for inferior performance.
And while the Senate has been outpaced by a snail when it comes to political appointees and some judges, Republicans were able to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court. Despite the Democrat obstruction, the President was able to get his twelfth federal appeals court nominee approved, setting a record for the most circuit court picks confirmed in the first year of a presidency.
Republicans have earned a D for their work so far. Not a failing grade but passing by the slimmest of margins. They have the power to bring their grade up, but they had better get to work. With House Speaker Paul Ryan retiring, now is the time for new leadership. Congress must do what they campaigned on, get the debt under control, repeal Obamacare, and secure the border. If you do what you campaigned on, the conservative base will come out in masse and reaffirm the GOP majority. Right now, however, the base is not happy.