Before I attempt to make the point of this week's column, I want to be clear that in this past election cycle, I have been firmly on the side of conservative voters who are completely and utterly fed up with national Republican leadership. As has already been discussed and dissected ad nauseum, after Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote, the GOP begged voters to give them control of the House, which they received in 2010. And they did nothing. They explained that away by insisting that they needed control of the Senate. Again, voters obliged. (And this after a government shutdown in 2013 that our diligently Democrat media warned would produce a bloodbath for the GOP at the polls.) The 2014 elections were a blowout in favor of Republicans.
We waited for legislation addressing the national debt, illegal immigration, the disintegrating debacle that is Obamacare -- something. Anything. Aaaannnnd -- crickets. The only thing the Republican-controlled Congress did was give President Obama the budgets he wanted. Former House Speaker John Boehner was the first casualty, only to be replaced by Paul Ryan, who has done more of the same -- including money for abortion providing Planned Parenthood, the bane of conservative voters across the country. In fact, the GOP caved on funding Planned Parenthood not once, but twice -- first, in the omnibus spending bill passed last year, and more recently last month when Democrats held up over a billion dollars to help fight the Zika virus unless there was money for Planned Parenthood in the spending bill. Again, congressional Republicans ran up the white flag.
When pressed, the GOP says, "We couldn't pass anything, because Obama would just veto it, and we don't have enough votes to override a veto." So, the argument goes, if you just give us a supermajority in the Senate, and the White House, then we'll finally get something done.
Uh-huh, sure. Voters would have forgiven Republicans for trying and failing, but they have been unforgiving about the GOP not even having tried. Behind the inertia and the excuses is the GOP's persistent timidity and fear of criticism by a press everyone already knows is hostile. Therefore, to nearly everyone's shock and the GOP's dismay, Republican voters chose the combative Donald J. Trump to be the Republican nominee.
There's not enough space here to outline the issues with Donald Trump as the nominee, particularly after the embarrassing revelations in the audio of Trump released last weekend. But the stupidity this is producing on all sides is mind-boggling:
The left is playing their trusty hypocrisy card; the same people who said, "It's just sex" when Bill Clinton engaged in incredibly vulgar conduct (not just speech) with a young intern in the Oval Office now purport to be outraged by nasty speech that took place 11 years ago.
Many of the GOP are falling for it again, cutting and running.
And this has inflamed voters' ire even further. I noticed a day or so ago that my Twitter feed was suddenly filled with Trump supporters who were vowing not to vote for any other Republicans down-ticket. Some stated that they would refuse to cast votes. Others promised to vote for Democrats. They're furious -- as I said, I get it. But this is insanity. You fight your own during the primary season -- not during the general elections.
I tried to point out the obvious.
Best-case scenario: You elect your guy to the presidency, and then you saddle him with a Democrat-controlled Congress. This means his -- and presumably your -- agenda is dead in the water.
Worst-case scenario: Hillary Clinton wins, and you have just helped give her the largest Democrat majority in Congress in a decade. This means that not only are you losing the executive branch and the legislature but also the judicial branch, as all of Hillary Clinton's "progressive" Supreme Court appointments sail through without a hiccup.
These seem peculiar ways to "punish" the pols you deem insufficiently loyal: by saddling yourselves and your fellow citizens with policies you deplore. That's not cutting your nose off to spite your face; it's blowing your brains out to show your hairstylist how crappy a job she did on your haircut.
When I had the temerity to point on the limits on a president's power, I unleashed a tweetstorm. "We don't need a conservative SCOTUS," one tweep wrote, "We only need Trump."
How does one answer this? Is the president going to single-handedly protect your First or Second Amendment rights? By what -- executive order?
To an extent, this is a consequence of President "I have a pen and a phone" Obama, and Democrats' willingness to go along with his executive overreach. Among the perils of an imperial presidency is a creeping attitude that the only way to counter your guy's disregard of the constitutional limits on his power, is to have my guy do it instead.
Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.