George Orwell could never have scripted a plot more perfidious than the illusion of the Republican Party.
Last week, Politico ran a headline asserting that Sen. Thad Cochran was “frail and disoriented” following an absence due to poor health. Steven Dennis of Bloomberg reported that on Thursday night, during the budget votes, Cochran mistakenly voted “aye” on the Rand Paul spending cut amendment until his advisor corrected him. Yes, it apparently takes a state of disorientation to get a Republican to actually vote for spending cuts. Remember, Cochran is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for goodness sakes.
Then the thought crossed my mind that as outrageous as it is for Cochran to continue serving in the Senate despite his condition, the same holds true for the majority of GOP senators, irrespective of their physical condition. As it relates to their actual job and campaign promises, most of them are “frail and disoriented” and are incapable or unwilling to accomplish anything in the GOP party platform.
Contrast 2009 to 2017 and you will see the party we are missing
It’s truly breathtaking to contrast the performance of Democrats in 2009 with what Republicans have done today with control of all three branches of government. At this time in 2009, Democrats passed the bailouts, the stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, the mortgage bankruptcy prevention, the first round of financial regulations, an “equal pay” bill, an SCHIP expansion, a massive expansion of unemployment benefits, credit card regulations, tobacco regulations, and laid the groundwork for other bigger proposals, such as cap and trade, Dodd Frank, and Obamacare.
Now, 10 months into this GOP Senate, they have declined to even defund Planned Parenthood, much less repeal Obamacare, partially repeal Dodd-Frank, or even pass the universally-supported REINS Act regulatory reform bill. Even the few good bills that pass committee never make it out to the floor and the few good bills that pass the House will never be given a chance in the Senate. Frail and disoriented indeed.
The truth is Republicans actually accomplished a lot…for the other side of the aisle. They passed two Democrat budgets, a blank check debt ceiling increase, and two unpaid-for supplemental spending bills without any long-term reforms. Overall, they have spent $130 billion more than Obama’s final year, and this year promises to be even more.
They managed to get to the left of Trump on the ethanol boondoggle and blocked any reforms to its unconstitutional mandate.
Here’s another important example of GOP perfidy. While blocking every significant immigration reform bill from coming to the House and Senate floors, even those that already passed committee, they have made it clear there is an urgent need to pass “DACA” amnesty. They refused to pass the Davis-Oliver enforcement bill and punish sanctuary cities, but severed off just one portion of the bill dealing with deporting gang members in order to give brownie points to Rep. Barbara Comstock, a member who stole sponsorship of that section of the bill. Even then, they watered down the provision, and shockingly, gave the courts judicial review power over the designation of gang groups when the House Judiciary Committee passed a version that denied the courts such power. This, at a time when the courts are abusing their power on the immigration issue.
Now, Republicans are working on jailbreak legislation, an endeavor that would overturn the greatest social success of our time – the miraculous reduction in violent crime – not to mention would help Democrats register more felons to vote.
Not only did they decline to repeal Obamacare, they have done the impossible – make Obamacare popular again and raise the specter for a bailout by talking up the “virtues” of Obamacare. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the committee with oversight over health care, said conservatives should stop talking about repealing Obamacare because it hurts people! This is the #1 GOP leader on health care who is now giving Democrats rhetorical victories they could never have gotten alone!
The foxes are guarding the hen house
And therein lies the dirty little secret with the GOP. Not only are they “feeble and disoriented,” they are a false flag alternative to the Democrats who grease the skids for left-wing successes by serving as a phony opposition but using the clout of the GOP to create unanimity of opinion for all of their premises. They merely squabble over the remaining 1 percent of details. This is how the left wins 50-year culture battles within weeks without firing a single shot.
Go down the roster of Senate committee chairs and you will see that almost every important GOP chair is not only an ineffective counter to the Democrats, they are champions of the liberal cause in their respective issue portfolios. Lamar controls health care and education and he supports federalized health care and education. Lisa Murkowski controls energy and she supports the global warming agenda. John McCain, the man who has championed our failed military endeavors for years, chairs Armed Services. Bob Corker, the champion of the sellout to Iran and Russia, chairs the Foreign Relations Committee. Mike Crapo at Senate Banking has no plans to repeal Dodd-Frank and has championed federal intervention in housing. Pat Roberts will never allow conservative changes to food stamps and agriculture welfare as chairman of the Agriculture Committee.
Oh, and Thad Cochran chairs the committee overseeing the purse strings.
At every turn, those tasked with guarding the hen house are the foxes devouring it. Whereas Democrats appoint champions of the liberal cause to spearhead their plans on important issues, the GOP appoints their least conservative members to carry the mantle on those issues.
The truth be told, Republicans are not offended by Democrat policies, they are just jealous of their success in getting them done. Except, they would never admit this on the campaign trail, which is why they use Democrat policy successes to stir up conservative voters so they can have their turn at the wheel. In many ways this is encapsulated by the sobering thought that the longest-serving GOP Speaker of the House during the last era of GOP power was a gay pedophile. At that same time, the Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, was a liberal who just came out of the closet as a lover of Obamacare. What do you think we’ll find out about the current crop of prominent GOP members 10 years down the road?
With every other campaign promise in the toilet, Republicans are now distracting us with ill-defined “tax reform,” as if they are incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. Do you really need a crystal ball to see how this ends?
With the endless increases in spending and the already-agreed upon corporate tax cut, how will they do an individual tax cut without it being a tax increase on those who pay the most in taxes? Republican leadership has made it clear they are searching for revenue, which will never translate into cutting welfare.
Thus, while we are all justifiably outraged at people like Thad Cochran serving in the Senate, just remember he’s actually the perfect poster child for a GOP senator.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.