Conservatives are not fooled by floorshows and half-baked schemes designed to appease them. And if talk is cheap, then the words that have come from most Republicans in Congress must surely be discounted to less than $1.99.
Meanwhile, for all of their bold talk and harsh criticism of President Obama, the president continues to run circles around GOP congressional leaders. Floorshows like the brilliant speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his address before Congress are wonderful. But what his speech most reminds us of is that our country lacks the kind of leaders who could stand in his place and deliver such a powerful message. One that would be backed up with the conviction to follow through with real action.
When Republicans agreed to a bloated budget last year, they offered conservative voters the gimmick of holding off passage of the Department of Homeland Security's funding, with the promise that somehow President Obama's immigration-by-fiat move would be singled out early this year and defunded. It was a cheap and unrealistic trick then, and it proved to be the same this week.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered his rousing and convincing speech about the folly of any nuclear arms agreement with Iran, Republican leaders in Congress had already decided to seize the fury over the risks set forth in Netanyahu's speech and pass the entire Homeland Defense budget, including funds to allow the president's "amnesty" move to go forward.
Yes, the more pragmatic of observers realize that Republicans would have been beaten up badly had they held up funding for DHS in an effort to checkmate the president's latest power grab. But why did they ever offer such unrealistic expectations?
In reality, the president, who so many Republicans declare ineffective and downright crazy, is really like a fox.
At every move, he has played the GOP like a Stradivarius. Let's recall some of his best performances:
On the budget, Obama got most of what he wanted. That includes funding to continue his immigration efforts.
In the matter of the IRS targeting of conservatives, the agency managed to duck and weave and avoid disclosing some 30,000 emails that it originally claimed were missing, but were found by other government officials in a warehouse. What would have been an incredible scandal in the days of Richard Nixon has become another opportunity for sound and fury from Republican lawmakers, but will result in little more.
Per obvious prodding from Obama, the FCC just took the Internet and roped it into the world of heavy regulations by a small unelected commission and with tons of rules and regulations to come. Again, the American Gripers moaned and complained, but rest assured, the Internet truly is "Obamanet." Score another victory for the president.
The list goes on and on. The president is now considering changing sections of the tax code through executive order. There will be plenty of angst about that among Republican leaders, but he will probably get his way.
And on the matter of an agreement with Iran -- a silly term given that one can never have a verifiable or enforceable agreement with Iran -- there is little doubt that the president will ultimately prevail. The Republicans will bluster and balk and maybe even manage to pass legislation seemingly designed to render any agreement unenforceable.
But does anyone really believe that these American Gripers will effectively stop this president? The answer is "no," and here is why.
What made Netanyahu's speech so meaningful is that it was not one of mere words, but a speech backed up by a deeply held and resolute conviction. It's the stuff that true leaders possess. We saw this in the likes of FDR, JFK and Reagan.
Sadly for the Republicans in Congress, we can add to that list Barack Obama. He is determined to shape the nation and indeed the world in his own resolute left-of-center and non-confrontational philosophy. Non-confrontational, that is, except when it comes to Republican leaders in Congress.
The GOP has become pretty good at playing politics to appease its GOP base with words and gimmicks. But they not only lack the pinpoint accuracy of the "American Sniper," they lack the resolve to pull the legislative trigger.