David Limbaugh

What are establishment Republicans so afraid of? Why are they so convinced that if they stand up to Obama -- even on issues the public agrees with them on -- they will be spanked at the ballot box?

Playing it safe sure has paid big dividends, huh? Every time we've had a fight over a budget ceiling or a continuing resolution, the establishment has told us we must not allow the government to shut down because Republicans would be blamed for it. The actual facts of the particular situation don't matter -- even if the Republicans' position is justified, defensible or over an issue that aligns them with the electorate. The establishment has decreed that we couldn't possibly, ever, come out on top in such a battle.

It's been a self-fulfilling prophecy. How can we prevail when we've announced in advance that we can't? How can we conceivably win over the public when we concede defeat before the battle begins?

Why is it automatically assumed that in every such impasse, Republicans will be blamed instead of Obama? Is it not true that his profligate spending is unpopular with the majority? That Obamacare consistently polls poorly? That the economy remains stagnant?

"We have to keep our eye on the big ball," they would say. "The 2012 elections are everything, and we'll lose if we always appear as the party of 'no.'"

Well, last time I checked, we got our clocks cleaned in 2012 after following this timid blueprint. Mitt Romney had Obama on the ropes in the first debate and refused to go in for the kill on Benghazi and other issues. He may as well have tendered his forfeiture right then and there.

Contrary to establishment "wisdom," Republicans win elections when they contrast themselves with Democrats, not emulate them. You can't inspire voters if you don't offer them a different, superior vision.

Recently, unnamed GOP strategists warned that unless Republicans quit going negative on Obama, they'll go down in flames in 2014 and possibly even lose their congressional majority. We cannot take the House for granted, they say.

In the first place, any political strategist who says Republicans can ever take any race for granted, given the liberal national media and the Democrats' proficiency at propaganda, ought to be fired. We must always run as though everything is on the line and assume nothing.

But how about this theory that criticizing Obama is toxic and politically suicidal? How do people impregnated with such defeatism gravitate toward a profession that is all about winning? Do Democrats ever hold back their criticism of Republicans? Are they ever shy about lambasting Republicans as extremists and evil?

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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