Millions of Americans are frustrated by the usurpation of the law by the Obama Administration. This has brought an onslaught of average citizens mobilizing for political change. This movement is largely defined as the "Tea Party movement" but there are millions of other Americans that would simply describe themselves as disgruntled with the Administration as we go into the 2014 elections.
This growing influence has not gone unnoticed by leading Democrats. One Democrat leader went so far to make the shocking statement that "Although the tea party's influence is 'undeniable,' it is not inevitable -- and it must be crushed for the good of the nation,' Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) argued in a long political speech, "They've won elections, stymied Democratic priorities and taken a sledgehammer to programs that are important to tens of millions of Americans," he complained.
To listen to Schumer one would think that the Tea Party -- and its only logical political vehicle, the GOP -- are destined to political success in November. Polling shows that the President's approval ratings "stink", according to a recent piece in the Washington Post. In spite of this, as early as a week ago Barack Obama has told voters that the 2014 election is a "referendum" of his policies and that they will cast votes based on their views of the president's record.
The GOP says they want voters to focus on the exact same thing as Obama: the president's record. Recently, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) came on my radio show to discuss his hope that voters will do just that.
Congressman Poe is an interesting character. The one time judge gained celebrity in Houston by handing out creative sentences, including having convicted criminals wear large signs admitting their crimes in highly populated areas (often in front of the stores where they were arrested). In Congress, he was certainly one of the most conservative of its members and a leading critic of many in the Obama administration. He is a Tea Party darling and many rank and file conservatives had put pressure on him to run against U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). He chose not to, but he is certainly considered one of the most conservative members of Congress.
About halfway through the interview, Poe told me that he agrees with the President that this election in 2014 is, in fact, a referendum on Obama's policies. The Congressman wanted to spend a great deal of energy on that topic. He went on to cite examples of scandals, corruption, and crimes that were committed by the president and his administration. This begged the question about impeachment. The question conservatives have raised so many times.
Poe immediately talked about Eric Holder's contempt of Congress charge and the fact no action had been taken yet against him by a judge. Furthermore, the Attorney General has "violated the law", according to Poe. Holder is the "culprit" and the Attorney General needed to take action. I was shocked by this coming from a leading conservative in the House. I went on to ask why the Congress didn't impeach Holder, if the contempt charges had not worked. Poe pointed out what Holder had done to that date -- first held in contempt and now trying to resign -- and then said that they hadn't decided what to do with the Holder who has made it clear he is leaving.
After citing inaction after inaction by the Executive Branch when it comes to holding itself accountable, I told Congressman Poe that "You have just given the most articulate argument I have heard yet on impeachment because the Executive Branch isn't doing what it is suppose to do, putting increase pressure on you in the Congress" to hold the President accountable.
I went on to point out that all the talk the GOP has done of hearing after hearing, without any results, may be why this off year election that was suppose to be a huge victory for Republicans, has not acquired much traction. The American voter is seeing tons of pronounced angst and huge amounts of rhetoric from the GOP, but very little tangible action by people who swore to defend the Constitution and believe it is being violated by the President. In fact, they are not taking any serious action at all.
In the end, I told Congressman Poe that "this could be as much a referendum on Republican courage" as it is on the Democrats' actions. The GOP is using extra Constitutional measures (like suing the White House for its illegal activities) rather than what is in the Constitution that they have sworn to defend.
Most rank and file conservatives would prefer a Congress that would attempt to fight these battles over and over again and fail, than one that is too afraid to succeed. I believe, if they tried and failed, they would enjoy way more political success as voters would see a reason to add to their numbers. Now, all the GOP does is add insult to injury. In so many ways the GOP conveys to voters that it doesn't have what it takes to challenge the corruption they decry. As a result, so many voters wonder, why bother supporting them? In the end, Republicans and their lack of courage makes them a part of the corruption landscape. If this election becomes a referendum of GOP courage, Republicans lose.