Recently, Joni Ernst, the GOP nominee for Senate in Iowa, expressed her support for reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.
Why is this such an important revelation for conservatives?
Most Republicans have bought into the notion that the most important task at hand is to win back the Senate majority in November. As such, many have suggested that we circumvent any major confrontations with Obama and the Democrats so as to avoid “rocking the boat” and putting the prospective GOP Senate majority in jeopardy.
From listening to most of the conservative intelligentsia one would come away with the impression that all we need to restore our Republic is a simple Republican majority in the Senate next year. At that point, we will have all the tools we need to fight Obama’s lawlessness and fundamental transformation of America. The potential for a GOP-takeover in the Senate has become the road to the Promised Land.
The problem with this thought process is that it is predicated on the fact that we will indeed have a conservative majority that not only supports our goals, but is willing to fight for them in a meaningful and consequential way. It is built on the assumption that a new GOP Senate majority, led by the same failed leaders of the past, in conjunction with some new moderate freshmen, will have the courage to use the new leverage and the power of the purse to stop the lawlessness.
Ironically, Joni Ernst came to national prominence, and arguably won the GOP nomination, based on her “castration” ad, in which she promised to castrate Washington spending just like she did to pigs on her family farm. But much like most of the pandering and theatrics in GOP primaries, this ad was the embodiment of the tortured dichotomy of many Republican politicians. They all profess an emphatic belief that the federal government is too large and intrusive, yet when presented with the first opportunity to ‘castrate’ the pig, they are unwilling to even take a parsimonious snip. Hence, they are all hat and no cattle.
Joni Ernst’s support for the Ex-Im Bank, along with those who claim to oppose it but are now granting it a temporary hall pass, should serve as a quintessential example of why too many conservatives are placing false hope into a future GOP majority.
The Ex-Im Bank is one of the easiest government entities to oppose. It is the poster-child for corporate welfare and has the net effect of subsidizing enemy countries to purchase products from specific U.S. companies. Moreover, there has never been more momentum behind eliminating the charter of this corruption-laden federal entity. Even Kevin McCarthy, the moderate House Majority Leader, conceded that we should probably not reauthorize the bank.
Yet, one of the most prominent senatorial candidates of the cycle – one who will be critical to creating this much-vaunted GOP Senate majority – cannot even stick a fork into a dying and unpopular entity. And this is before she even steps foot in Washington and is overwhelmed by the pressure from the lobbyists.
Conservatives need to ask several uncomfortable questions: if a Republican candidate can’t stand up to a beleaguered corporate welfare institution with such tailwinds behind the effort, does anyone believe they will have the courage to reform the individual welfare state, which has ensnared roughly 109 million Americans? The constituency for this bank is so small that even Obama referred to it as a corporate welfare bank before he became president and needed their money.
If these Republicans lack the moxie to fight an entity that is designed to expire by default with no need to actively fight for legislative action against it, who believes they will have the grit to confront Obama and wield the power of the purse when that becomes our final recourse against tyranny?
And if this is what we are hearing from fresh energetic candidates, what expectations should we have for the old-bull Republican politicians who will be leading the Senate majority?
While conservatives agree that it is imperative to fire Harry Reid as Majority Leader in November, the unanswered question is what happens next? Do Republicans plan to stand firm against Obama’s lawlessness?
This is why we must hold Republicans accountable and not let them redefine what it means to be a conservative by distracting with cute ads and broad platitudes. Conservatives are looking for action.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.