As a Republican who desperately wants a change in national leadership to stop the erosion of our economic foundation and international leadership, I feel compelled to speak up in opposition to the absurd tactics being used today by a small minority of zealots who seemingly do not understand that ours is a nation of majority rule. The petulant approach of shutting down the federal government and threatening to cause a default on sovereign debt is more reminiscent of attention seeking high school sophomores in a student council than serious legislators. More fundamentally, it deprives the country of a credible alternative to the failing policies of the Obama administration. While no one will ever know for sure what caused it, the incident outside the White House and Capitol earlier this week are indicative of the decline in quality of discourse caused by the standoff and a reflection of the very real consequences which can result from confrontations of this nature, whether or not they have already resulted.
Obamacare is a poorly conceived program, which is undermining the economy and suppressing employment, while probably causing a deterioration of health care, federal spending for entitlements and otherwise is out of control and having the same effect and our recent foreign policy of capitulation from Benghazi to Iran to Syria is jeopardizing our security. However, there is only one way to stem this disastrous tide and that is to win elections and roll back these policies. The Republican approach of obstructionism was put to the test in the 2012 elections and failed miserably, paving the way for what we see today. Voters were given the clear choice of more of the same Obama policies including Obamacare, or Tea Party focus on social issues and unrealistic economic policies and flatly rejected the latter.
I say rejected the latter rather than endorsed the former because I think this is more accurate. There are few indications in public or private discourse that any serious analysts are comfortable with the direction of the country. However, there are even fewer indications that anyone believes that the current Republican message of anger toward seemingly everyone other than gun owners -- be they immigrants, gays, poor or otherwise -- would be preferable.
Repealing Obamacare, stopping the regulatory assault on business and jobs, stopping the endless vilification of those who are ideologically different than the president through IRS scrutiny or otherwise and militarily defending American interests, when they are attacked are essential. However, we are not going to attain those goals with the tactics of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, etc. Inconveniencing millions through government shutdowns, defaulting on government debt and insulting the president are not going to change any law or policy -- which must be the ultimate objective. All they do is risk massive economic dislocation and allow Democrats to depict Republicans as hysterical extremists who are either uninterested in the welfare of the country and its citizens or intellectually incapable of engaging in serious discussion of how to further the interests of the people. Ours is a system of majority rule and the Republican effort to bring about the results of majority control without a majority is accomplishing nothing positive, unless one believes that a President Biden or second President Clinton is positive.
The issue was aptly stated by Harold L. Jackson, a member of the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- hardly a hotbed of leftist orthodoxy: "While I don't think the Affordable Care Act is in the best interest of the country, I also don't think it is in the best interest of the country to shut the government down."
Despite their bravado, Tea Partiers do not represent close to a majority of Americans, who are far more interested in day-to-day issues such as health care for their families, college for their children, retirement security and safety from foreign attack than they are in ideological purity. Mr. Jackson again summarized the situation: "I still think it's pretty much a tea party minority that is causing the ruckus, ..."
The only way to repeal misguided legislation is to expressly repeal it through established legislative process and not cause a small minority of zealots to gum up the legislative process to indirectly obtain an outcome for which they do not have the votes to obtain directly. President Obama is correct when he declares that what we are seeing belongs in a fictional banana republic and not in the US.
Let us in the conservative camp heed the 2012 election returns which make clear that the country is not buying what the Tea Party is selling, and prepare the country for a legitimate philosophical choice in 2014 and 2016. This means immediately dropping the effort to hold the country hostage to the whims of a small minority of Tea Partiers, allowing existing legislation to stand and showing the country the impact of its implementation, honoring our debts but making an honest, direct case to the voters against misguided policy. Current efforts are doing nothing to advance the Republican cause on the national level, whatever they may be doing in isolated pockets. Let us go back to honest credible policy debate which has served the country and conservative causes well in prior elections.