On Tuesday, members of the House Oversight Committee grilled Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards over undercover videos linking high-ranking employees with illegal sale of fetal body parts. Under heavy questioning, Richards admitted to supporting sex-selective abortion, acknowledged that the vast majority of Planned Parenthood's nongovernment revenue springs from abortion, and awkwardly attempted to explain away the organization's alleged willingness to utilize special abortion techniques to preserve "samples" from the killed unborn.
That night, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced that he would fully fund Planned Parenthood.
Naturally, conservatives feel that they have been betrayed. Again. Since the 2014 elections, Republicans have done nothing to slow or stop Obama's historically egregious Iran deal, which almost guarantees Iranian regional dominance followed by their eventual development of nuclear weapons; Obama's executive amnesty program, which promises to continue to shape the country in heretofore unforeseen ways; and Obama's support for the nation's leading abortion mill.
On Wednesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he looked forward to Boehner's last month in the House, and hoped that Boehner would "work with his Republican colleagues and with his Democratic colleagues to effect some progress on important things that we need to be doing." Hoyer added that Boehner "wants to get some things done that are important for the country to get done so that he doesn't leave that for the next leadership. ... I hope he can."
When conservatives hope the Republican leadership does nothing, and Democrats hope the Republican Speaker goes big, that's an excellent indicator that the Republican Party no longer represents its base. No wonder conservatives rally behind anti-establishment figures ranging from Donald Trump to Carly Fiorina; Texas Senator Ted Cruz draws heavy grassroots support for slicing Planned Parenthood funding out of the latest continuing resolution, even if it means Obama vetoing the CR, thus shutting down the government. Conservatives didn't elect Republicans to build a power base. They elected them to enact conservative policy preferences, no matter the cost.
But Republican Party insiders seem puzzled at the rage of the conservative base over their collective decision not to oppose the most controversial elements of President Obama's agenda. Instead, Republicans insist to their voters that they're doing their best, that without 66 votes in the Senate, they can't override the executive branch, and that they will need just a few more dollars, pretty, pretty please.
This conflict lays bare the conflicting agendas of conservatives and Republican leaders. Republican leaders believe the goal of the Republican Party is to gain and maintain power; conservatives believe the goal of the Republican Party is to represent conservative interests, no matter what comes. The Republican Party has become an excellent vehicle for the former goal, and a smoking garbage heap when it comes to the latter.
Republicans may keep winning, because the only alternative for conservatives is to vote Democrat. For now. But the divergence between the base and the leadership will eventually lead to the GOP's collapse, unless Republican leaders begin to re-orient themselves to a conservative true north.