Opportunity Knocking for GOP -- But Will Party Leaders Squander It?

John Kass
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Posted: Oct 22, 2014 12:09 PM
Opportunity Knocking for GOP -- But Will Party Leaders Squander It?
Wasn't it just yesterday that President Barack Obama extended his arms like some Hollywood Moses, promising his election would calm the seas and heal the planet?

But now the October winds have blown the messiah off the man. And November's midterm elections -- with Democrats writhing in panic -- are only days away.

And what of the Republicans?

For those of you studying Hopium withdrawal, this would be the right time. The national crop has failed. The national bowls are empty. Democrats are sad. And only the Hopium pipes of the remaining true believers can cast a faint glow upon the future.

So the Republican establishment is grinning, poised to make big gains in November, keeping the House, perhaps taking the Senate by a wide margin.

And conservatives and libertarians will go along, and vote with them, convinced as many of us are that Obama's policies are disastrous for America.

But then what?

Even as the GOP establishment rubs its hands in glee over Obama's many failures, they have yet to articulate a vision of the future.

What do the Republicans stand for, really? Where are they going? And where do they want to take the country?

By taking the country, I don't mean jamming us all into a cage on top of Mitt Romney's station wagon with Jeb Bush driving and Karl Rove riding shotgun, passing out the beef jerky and ice water on the road to 2016.

Some hoped that Obama's ascendance might have forced the GOP to reckon with itself and, after a period of bloodletting, perhaps even change its ways.


But why change when you don't have to? Especially since media liberals were doing the heavy lifting for Rove and the boys, playing the role of useful idiot by demonizing the tea party patriots and other conservatives.

And now those big-government war hawks, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are quite pink of cheek.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is back after taking a detour around that troublesome bridge back home. And there is one push for yet another Bush and a beseeching of Romney.

So the Republican establishment is in no mood to relinquish its hold on the party. They talked a good game of cutting government when Obama was strong, but now that he's been weakened, it seems cutting is far from their minds.

Even before November's votes are in, establishment GOP bosses talked about taking control of the Senate and passing a huge omnibus spending bill rather than cut line-by-line.

The Hill reported it this way: "Under this scenario, the Senate Republican leadership would prefer to pass an omnibus spending bill or a year long stopgap funding measure that would keep the federal government operating until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30."

It's as if the GOP hasn't learned a thing from their time in the wilderness.

Perhaps that's unfair. They did learn something. They learned to wait.


A fat omnibus spending bill isn't exactly going line-by-line and cutting. It's shoveling your cash down government's throat, and the federal leviathan is always hungry.

It is possible that a big-government GOP Congress may, over the next two years, cause so much disgust in the Republican base that an opening might be created for a true budget cutter.

Not Mitt. Not Jeb. Not the usual neocon retreads and biscuit eaters, but a conservative or libertarian who holds one document sacred, even above the editorial pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal:

The Constitution.

The Republicans waited through the past six years of the Obama fever dream, all that "We are the ones we've been waiting for" nonsense, but being anti-Obama isn't enough, not if the GOP is thinking beyond the midterm.

In the short term, there is plenty of bad news for Obama and the Democrats. In some polls, Americans think the world is spinning out of control. In others, we're "going to hell in a handbasket."

Much of that hell is of the president's own making. He campaigned against the war in Iraq but then engaged in foolish bouts of presidential golf as video beheadings of Americans were broadcast. His poll numbers plummeted. And with Senate Democrats in full panic, he took us to war again in Iraq with Islamic State. And that's not going well, is it?


His flubbing of Ebola policy and inconsistent messaging in the first weeks made that scare even worse. He refused to calm anxieties by shutting down flights from West Africa -- even as he was begged to do so by Democrats -- because that would have compromised his amnesty for undocumented Mexicans after the election.

And earlier there was the disastrous Obamacare rollout, and the IRS attacks against free speech and the NSA spying on our cellphones, and on and on.

It wasn't exactly all Hollywood Moses, was it?

All presidents at midterm have problems and their party pays for it, but his many errors may prove equally severe for Republicans.

Why?

Because establishment boss Republicans haven't been compelled to change. And they'd rather preside over a lost and feeble party they can control than one that ignores them.

They've figured out what they stand against, but not what they stand for.

But Hillary Rodham Clinton knows what she stands for. She stands for winning.

And in a campaign between war hawk big-government Hillary and some vanilla war hawk big-government establishment Republican, there is no contest. She will devour him.

And that's why Hillary is perfectly poised to take the White House 2016.