Misreading the Mandate

November 10, 2014

Elephants-500The American people have spoken loudly, smashing the Democratic Party in every state. Well, almost every state – California seems to have become another country at this point, bucking the national trend and electing Democrats in all statewide offices.

For the rest of these United States, unity was the byword. Unity against the Democrats and the president that leads them. Even the most severely liberal states of Massachusetts and Maryland installed Republicans as governors. Democratic incumbent Senators went down like duck pins at the bowling alley. It was a wave, a sweep, a wipeout.

The beneficiaries of this political tsunami are the Republicans. Thrust into power across the nation, they now control of the national legislature with historic majorities.

All is well in America. Well, sort of.

When Bill Clinton was handed his historic comeuppance in the 1994 elections, where his party lost control of both houses of the Congress for the first time since Eisenhower was president, he promptly declared that the American people had spoken and that, in essence, the ideology of the left had been rejected.

“The era of big government is over,” he intoned, and, after kicking up a fuss where he could, he dejectedly signed Republican legislation to reform welfare and cut taxes – unleashing the powerful economic boom that he would later hijack to remake his tarnished image.

President Obama is no Bill Clinton. He doesn’t do political pivot. In the face of the Republican tsunami, Obama decided to lift the veil and admit publicly what we already feared. He intends now to rule America by fiat.

Surveying the damage of the last six years, one would query whether this is, in fact, a new plan at all. His abuse of executive orders has already landed him in the Supreme Court, which rebuked him.

In the aftermath of one of the greatest electoral defeats in recent times, Obama is not chastened at all. He is moving forward and will use his pen to enact policy across the board, only allowing that, were Republicans to send him legislation with which he agrees, he will sign it. Gee, thanks.

Republican leaders took a different tack on the day after the election. The House Speaker, John Boehner, and the presumptive Senator Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, were tripping over themselves to invite the president to cooperate and find common ground, as if that were possible. That did not sit well with everyone in their respective legislative caucuses.

Congress Louis Gohmert was quick to point out that, were the president to make good his threat of radically changing the laws of the United States by going around the body that makes those laws, Congress would cut off the money. Senator Ted Cruz leapt into the fray by immediately introducing the “Stop Amnesty” bill, designed to cut off those funds.

To non-combatants, this funding cut off can seem confusing. Unlike a complete shutdown of the federal government, which can bring political problems for the new Republican majority, the selective use of “no such sums” language to stop specific actions can be quite effective.

“No such sums” legislation, simply, means that anyone in the federal government using any federal dollars to do the thing that Congress prohibited is breaking the law. In an era where rampant law breaking by the current administration seems the activity du jour, one would wonder whether this will matter.

Can anyone really image an Obama Justice Department prosecuting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official for disobeying a Congressional ban on using any federal form to process illegal immigrants into citizens? Probably not.

But, federal employees are not generally wild-eyed leftist ideologues likely to break the law in order to achieve their policy outcomes. They’re just there for a paycheck, as we all painfully know. 2016 is just around the corner. Do they really want to bet that President Walker’s Justice Department will take such a casual approach to lawlessness and not prosecute them into a prison cell?

Perhaps Obama was counting on the feckless leaders of the Republican Congressional majorities to stammer and collapse in the face of his planned usurpation of power. And perhaps they were likely to do just that, with their nauseating prattle about compromise and working together. It is as if they have bought the media narrative about the election.

For months, the main stream media have been assuring liberals that the elections were very close, and that there was almost no chance of a Republican wave. Sure, there was a chance that the Republicans would capture the Senate, but that was not certain, since even races in the Republican southern stronghold were within the margin of error.

When it became clear in the final weeks of the election that the Republicans were going to take the Senate, the media spin turned to Seinfeld: that this was an election about nothing. You see, if the Democrats are going to win, then it’s a mandate for change. When Republicans win, it’s kind of an accident, with no policy implications of any kind.

Picking themselves off the floor on election night, the media’s narrative switched again. Now, instead of the election having no meaning, it was a clarion call for cooperation, for bipartisanship. Media simps were bleating in unison that the American people had spoken loudly and clearly: they want everyone to get along. Wrong.

If the American people wanted Washington politicians to get along, they would have defeated equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. But they didn’t do that. Republicans, with the exception of the governor of Pennsylvania, were reelected in droves, and, by morning, Democrats were dusting off their resumes and sending them to lobbying firms.

Indeed, the American people spoke. They spoke a loud rejection of Obama and his party. The Republicans need to seize the moment and offer the nation their agenda for repairing our economy, restoring our prestige overseas and reinvigorating our spirit. But they also need to stop this president before he subverts the results of the election with his executive pen.

Bold, profound and decisive action is required. But, in addition to action, they need to make the case for their programs. Anything short of this would be to misread this election and the mandate they were bequeathed by the American people.

Worse, we are running out of chances to set our nation back on a course for future prosperity, peace and happiness, so Republicans better get moving.

Can a GOP led by Boehner and McConnell pull it off? Let’s hope so.