Monday, November 10, 2014
From: Gary L. Bauer
The Compromise Trap
In the days since last week’s historically disastrous election for President Obama and his liberal allies, the chattering class of TV talking heads, professional analysts and pollsters (the same experts who told us there would not be a wave election) has been telling conservatives what the election meant and what they are required to do. Establishment Republicans ought to reject the media’s false narrative.
For example, some commentators are insisting that 2014 was merely an anti-incumbency election. No it wasn’t. It was an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat election. Not a single Republican senator lost, whereas four incumbent Senate Democrats lost. Republicans also won half a dozen open Senate seats. In House races too, it was incumbent Democrats, not Republicans, who “bit the dust.”
They say the message was that the public wants both sides to work together. Perhaps the pundits, like Obama, are listening to the voters who cared so little they didn’t even show up. The media’s misreading of Tuesday’s results is so bad it has to be deliberate.
If voters really wanted Congress and the president to work together, they would have elected more Democrats, not more Republicans who were promising to fight Obama. What the voters wanted was something in Washington to resist this president. They voted to restore balance to our government.
But Republicans run the risk of wasting their victory if they buy in to the liberal media’s narrative. Let me remind the Republican leadership that they are standing on very thin ice. The heartland is giving Republicans another chance, and it could be the last one they get. I want to zero in on two key issues: amnesty and Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Since the election, Obama has repeated his threat to move ahead unilaterally on his open borders policy, even after his allies were repudiated by the voters.
During Friday’s White House meeting, Republican leaders reportedly asked Obama to hold off on his executive order so they could act on immigration reform in January. Their message is essentially, “If you do that, it will poison the well. . . .Work with us and we can do it together.” But the public does not want it done. Why would Republicans want their fingerprints on it?
Here’s what they should have said:
“Mr. President, you are not king. If you take this unconstitutional step, we will use every tool at our disposal to shut down your administration for its final two years. We owe that to the American people.
“We are going to pass laws to secure our border. But we have zero confidence that you will enforce those laws since you have regularly demonstrated your disdain for existing immigration laws and the other two branches of government.”
There’s been a lot of handwringing over the Hispanic vote in recent years. Yet after resisting Obama’s demand to pass a quasi-amnesty bill for the past two years, the GOP’s share of the Hispanic vote increased to 36% in 2014, up from 30% in 2012. In some states like Georgia and Texas, for example, the GOP share of the Hispanic vote exceeded 40%.
Democrats thought Hispanic voters would save Senator Mark Udall in Colorado and perhaps make the Georgia Senate race competitive for Michelle Nunn. Republicans won the Colorado and Georgia contests. Those results do not suggest that Republicans should suddenly surrender on amnesty.
As David Gergen said yesterday on one of the Sunday talk shows, “. . .the president is the one who lost the elections. . . . The loser has to say, ‘I’m going to be willing to change course. . .'” But by doubling down on amnesty, Gergen said Obama’s real message is, “First I’m going to spit in your face over immigration. Now let’s sit down and compromise.”
No Iranian Nukes
The Constitution makes it clear that treaties signed by president must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate (67 votes). But the White House is continually sending messages that Obama intends to use the same unilateral approach on treaties.
According to the New York Times, “President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on” a deal regarding Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. But what if the Senate voted against it? Would Obama be tempted to ignore the Senate? All signs indicate it will be a terrible treaty for the America and our most important Middle East ally, Israel.
The president has just nominated Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. In the confirmation hearings that will take place, Ms. Lynch should be reminded by that she is supposed to be the chief legal officer of the United States, not the president’s defense counsel.
There is no legitimate legal scholar in the country who believes the president has the right to legislate immigration law and make treaties without Senate consent. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are demanding that Lynch publicly state her position on executive amnesty.
Lynch should be told she has zero chance of confirmation unless she makes it clear that she believes any attempts by the president to grant amnesty or negotiate treaties by fiat are unconstitutional and that she will oppose them.
Privately, senators should be telling the White House that if the president continues down this road, he won’t be able to get any appointments confirmed because they have an obligation to prevent this president — or any president for that matter — from violating the separation of powers and the Constitution.
No doubt some in the media would decry such a step as a recipe for gridlock. But in reality it would be a step toward restoring the balance of power between two co-equal branches of government.
Reagan And The Fall Of The Wall
Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of revisionist history over the weekend. Some reports heaped praised on Mikhail Gorbachev. Some even credited the collapse of the wall to a bureaucratic mistake.
But it was not a mistake or a quirky Soviet leader that led to one of freedom’s greatest triumphs. Contrary to the advice of so many foreign policy elites, Ronald Reagan refused to accommodate the Soviets or rationalize away the evil that the Berlin Wall represented. Instead, Reagan took a stand for freedom and boldly declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
I shudder to think what the world might look like today if Ronald Reagan not been so steadfast in his defense of freedom. If Reagan’s vision had not prevailed, the Berlin Wall might still be standing today. While the world celebrates the fall of the Berlin Wall, let’s also celebrate the man who helped make it possible.
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