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Jerry Shenk


Of What Use Are Republican Majorities?

by Jerry Shenk
 

Recently, liberal Democrats and media attacked House Republicans for "risking a shutdown" by withholding a tiny fraction of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding.

Their hyperbole was dismissed by conservatives who paid attention during and since the 2013 government shutdown which included DHS.

Then, few were inconvenienced -- except tourists and veterans when, in a fit of arguably prepubescent pique, the Obama administration barricaded national parks and veterans memorials.

One pundit observed: "The sky didn't fall. The world didn't end. People didn't die in the streets. In fact, it was difficult to detect any difference outside the Washington Beltway before and during…two shutdowns."
During the 2013 shutdown, 800,000 government employees were declared "nonessential," begging a question: Why are taxpayers paying nonessentials numbering roughly the population of San Francisco?

Despite ignoring the 2013 warnings of media, Democrats — and Republican Rep. Charlie Dent -- to submit a "clean bill" or suffer the consequences, in 2014, the GOP added nine seats to take a Senate majority and extended their House margin.

This year the imagined "threat to public safety" from a partial DHS-only shutdown was offset by genuine threats to public health and safety: presidential executive orders encouraging unimmunized children to illegally enter America, amnesty for millions of illegals already here, the release of illegal felons and the administration's refusal to deport others.
The DHS funding debate was really about the legality of the executive actions and Congress's right (as a coequal branch of government holding the power of the purse) to withhold funding for the president's excesses. Fearing bad press — or seeking positive press — Charlie Dent ruined a unified GOP message by publicly urging his party in Congress to relinquish that right.

Dent got his way. Irresolute GOP leadership caved.

For what? Unless siding with Democrats, Republicans always get lousy press.
The left-leaning national media often withholds information, misrepresents facts and is now ignoring American public opinion.

A majority of Americans wants Congress to pass legislation the president opposes, a sign that influence and public support is — or should be — shifting to Congress.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that, while only 25 percent of Americans identify as Republicans (29 percent as Democrats), 59 percent think "Congress should continue to pass legislation that most members of Congress support even if the president is opposed."

Just 25 percent would have Congress capitulate to the president.
Nevertheless, Republican leaders lack resolve.

Charlie Dent has become a media "go-to" Republican for criticizing his party's conservative congressional wing — members whose votes reflect the views of their constituents. Dent wishes to avoid issues that "…won't end well for us Republicans." (Translation: "…may damage our careers and majorities.")

If institutionalizing illegal executive orders is their product, what good are Republican majorities?

Conservatives don't care about Republican careers, majorities or favorable media attention. They care about good governance and enforcing America's laws no matter who's in charge. Conservatives trusted Republicans to do the right and legal — not the "safe" — things regardless of personal or party consequences.

Clearly, that faith was misplaced.


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