Did House Republicans Sell Us Out?

The following post was originally published as a letter to the membership of the NFRA at www.RepublicanAssemblies.org. |

Nothing better demonstrates the need for an NFRA [ed. — “National Federation of Republican Assemblies”] and a robust Republican Assembly movement in every state than the “fiscal cliff” deal just passed.

Note well:  nearly all the House Republicans voted against the deal, as did key Senators like Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, etc. The tax-and-spend nightmare is brought to you by the Dems: Obama, Reid, and nearly every single House Democrat. Boehner will get his come-uppance shortly.

That said, it’s not fair to cast what the Boehner group did as a “sell out”: from where they’re sitting, they managed to make permanent the vast majority of the Bush tax cuts and avoid draconian, devastating spending cuts to our military in time of war. That much is admirable. These are good guys who took the best deal they thought they could get.

The issue is not that they “sold out”: again, they did not.

The issue is that they’re idiots.

Why?  Because all money bills must originate in the House:  Obama cannot so much as add one paperclip to this government if the House refuses to pay for it. They have way more power than they think. They can force Obama to heel in a thousand ways. They aren’t sell-outs: they’re just terrible negotiators.

Our friend and former DCRA [ed. — “District of Columbia Republican Assembly”] President Grover Norquist says that the 85 House Republicans who voted for the deal deserve “political cover” in that they certainly did not vote to raise taxes.  He’s right.  The Bush tax cuts having lapsed, every one of them was not only voting for a tax cut, they were voting for it to be made permanent, something the Dems have prevented since 2001.  This is admirable.  It’s even an achievement.

It’s just not leadership.

We have to quit with this juvenile false dichotomy of “faithful” vs. “sell-out”.  It’s rarely that simple.  None of our guys sold us out last night.  Faithfulness is not their problem: competence is. Remember, Neville Chamberlain was not a traitor, just a really bad negotiator.  If he’d been serving in a Churchill-led government, he’d have voted just fine. What we need is some musical chairs. Now.

Boehner is the world’s worst negotiator, and a truly bad leader. But he’ll make a great, faithful, loyal, highly conservative back-bencher; and without him holding a whip over their heads, most of the rest of that 85 will vote better too.  They’d vote a lot better with a truly good set of leaders.

This is exactly why the NFRA exists: to elect capable conservatives to those “minor” offices no one seems to care about, like state and national party offices, platform committees, rules committees, the RNC, and of course, this much much higher level of Civics 101 we’ve been groaning about today. God bless the Tea Party, but if the Tea Party thinks its job is done by electing a few great Congressmen, it has not adequately understood the lifelong slog our Founders — those first Tea Partiers — signed up for and then lived.

So as you start your new year, you could have no better motivator.  You exist to correct the problem America just saw.  Yes, we hunt RINOs; but lots of people do that.  We actually train and elect capable conservative leaders.  We solve the problems that pop up after November; we fight the elections after the election.

Someone has to.  The fiscal cliff debacle shows nothing if not that.

Teach this lesson to your Tea Party friends well; and after you do, watch us get radically stronger, and daily better able to fight and defeat the socialist onslaught.