How Deep is their Conservatism?
So what has happened in the past twelve months to terrify so many of our Republican office-holders? Two hurricanes struck, and some observers accused a federal agency of responding too slowly to one of them. Tom DeLay was indicted, in what was basically a bad joke, by an absurdly partisan and utterly discredited Texas Democrat DA. An aide to the Vice President has been accused of lying to a grand jury about telling the truth to the press about a mountebank Democrat’s lies about the administration. And the President’s poll ratings–more or less irrelevant, given that he can’t run for office again–have dropped into a range occupied, at one time or another, by every President from Lyndon Johnson to the present.
These are pathetic reasons for our representatives in Congress to be in a Chicken Little mode. The Republicans are rapidly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and it’s hard to say who is more to blame–the Congressional Republicans, some of whom are afraid of their own shadows, or the White House, which, in studiously refraining from responding to the most outrageously unfair and blatantly partisan attacks launched against an American administration in 145 years, seems intent on a weird kind of martyrdom.
It’s no wonder that Republicans across the country increasingly regard their elected representatives as gutless wonders. There is no objective reason why 2006 should be a disaster for the party, but it will be if our representative don’t stick together and show the voters that the Republican party still stands for security, common sense and limited government. That’s still a winning combination, but only if our representatives vote for it.
Too many elected Republicans–caught in the Beltway echo chamber and desirous of making everyone (the media) happy–seem to believe that they are in a weaker position than they actually are. They seem to have forgotton that they control both Houses and the Presidency. They are sacrificing their conservative principles because they believe that backing off of same will give them some sort of relief. But it won’t and they should know better. Instead, it makes them appear weak and able to be bullied. But their actions do more than betray a lack of faith in their purported conservative principles. They also indicate that, in fact, there may be quite a few more rhetorical than ideological conservatives in the Republican party.