“Where is Congress?”
That is the refrain we hear from voters all over the country, and not just from conservatives. The courts and the bureaucracies are determining the outcome of every policy issue, and Congress, the strongest branch of government, is too wishy-washy to act. Jim Jordan actually has a novel idea: Fulfil the actual campaign promises made to the American people.
How we got here
What ever happened to plugging the leaky borders? What ever happened to defunding sanctuary cities? What ever happened to fixing health care? What ever happened to cutting spending? Why is Planned Parenthood still funded? Why is Obama’s amnesty still in place?
In each of these areas, to the extent that Congress has ever addressed the issues, it makes them worse. It has sought to codify amnesty, it has busted the budget, it has done away with the debt ceiling, and it has accepted the core premise of Obamacare. It has grown almost every agency Trump promised to cut.
Why? Because leaders of both parties fundamentally share the same philosophy – to grow government, to empower private monopolies in health care backed by government, and to cater to open-borders interests, while putting Americans last instead of first in sovereignty, national security, and foreign policy.
The House of Representatives is the most powerful body of government in the sense that it’s closest to the people and is fully controlled by a simple majority. Republicans have controlled this body for 20 of the past 24 years, but what has it gotten us? They hold the power of the purse with a simple majority and can wield the most influence over the budget. After all, all revenue increases must begin in the House. Yet our sovereignty is going to hell in a handbasket, the courts control everything, interest on the debt will surpass military spending, and Congress has essentially ceded health care and military policy to the executive branch.
For far too long, Republicans have had leadership that fundamentally accepts the policy premises, priorities, and messaging of the status quo Swamp. To that end, leaders only bring up nanny-state fiscal bills and open-borders initiatives, but won’t allow any number of good, innovative conservative ideas to come to the floor. The only thing they are willing to do is cut taxes, and they plan on using the tax issue every year as political morphine to mask the pain of every other policy betrayal.
Jordan’s time to shine
This is where Jim Jordan comes in. If we can secure an anchor in the House, we can move the president to the right on many issues and embolden him on issues where he is already with conservatives, while isolating the insufferable leftists, both Democrat and Republican, who populate the Senate. With the right leadership in the House, unlike in the Senate, there are perhaps enough followers in the House who will be willing to hold the line on critical issues, promote bold, innovative ideas on fiscal and national security issues, and use the budget and other leverage points to make the Senate moot – if we have the right leader.
Amid all the griping about the House leadership, the biggest problem reformers have faced is the old adage, “You can’t beat somebody with nobody.” For years, nobody was willing to step forward and launch a serious and sustained campaign for speaker with a new platform to galvanize the base and win back swing voters. Jim Jordan has shown today that he is willing to lead where nobody else would. Moreover, he rightfully chose to do so before the election instead of waiting until it’s too late. Why risk losing the election over liberal ideas and have a fight over minority leaders, when we could actually promote an agenda we believe in and possibly salvage the election?
If Kevin McCarthy is the only option for speaker, it’s very likely there won’t be an opportunity to even have a speaker’s election in the GOP, because that slot will go back to Nancy Pelosi. Ryan, McCarthy, and McConnell are already working with Trump to pass yet another Democrat budget bill funding Planned Parenthood and codifying Democrat immigration priorities before the election. That will really motivate the GOP base to turn out in a year dominated by unprecedented Democrat engagement!
The failure of GOP leaders to fight on a single budget or debt ceiling with official control of all three branches shows clearly the opportunity we would have with a Speaker Jordan. In 2011, with just control of the House, Jim Jordan successfully fought for the only meaningful spending cuts we’ve ever enacted. As the last conservative head of the Republican Study Committee, Jordan ensured that the debt ceiling was not raised without the Budget Control Act. He came under intense pressure for refusing to supply the conservative votes to raise Obama’s debt ceiling in July of that year. Obviously, there were problems with that bill because it created a false choice between cutting the military vs. the Department of Education. Had Jordan been speaker, we would have gotten a much better deal. But the one spending success, which brought deficits down from $1 trillion to $500 billion, was led by Jordan when Obama was president.
Jordan has the opportunity to spend the next several months rising above the endless media soap opera and promoting a new contract with the American taxpayer and consumer to keep promises on such principles as putting the patient and doctor back in control of medicine, ending subsidies and mandates for crony monopolies, protecting American taxpayers against the ill effects of illegal immigration, guarding the conscience rights of taxpayers and property owners, and ensuring that government doesn’t grow faster than the private economy.
He can also run on ending the taxpayer subsidization of a permanent political class by promoting term limits, an end to congressional pensions, the enactment of whistle-blower laws in the executive branch, and civil service reform.
He can make Congress itself more transparent by creating user-friendly databases to search legislation and congressional activity, bar the practice of pairing disparate bills and ideas with one another in a single piece of legislation, and actually keep the promise to read the bills.
And yes, he can finally make sure that Congress addresses the runaway power of the lower courts, which is rendering elections moot.
As for President Trump, he has a choice to make internally. He has complained bitterly that, despite his strong leverage of the veto pen, he has been forced to sign bad bills. Well, now is his opportunity to change course. Even under the best-case scenario, he will never get 60 votes in the Senate, and he needs strong House leadership to hold the line against the house of lords. Now is his moment to show that he truly is not a politician and is willing to shake things up.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.