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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Can conservatives sustain the urgent fight against the ruling class?

Admittedly it’s a little hard to believe now but it was a year ago today that a very tired looking Hillary Clinton assumed the stage at the Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia to formally accept her party’s nomination for president.

The speech was memorable only for its historical significance, the moment when a dedicated career hack in perhaps the most crooked political family of all time enjoyed her ultimate triumph. The throngs of Democrat faithful in attendance gave Hillary a rousing ovation as husband Bill joined her at the podium upon conclusion of Hillary Clintonher made-for-TV lecture, both seemingly mesmerized by the otherwise commonplace spectacle of balloons dropping from the ceiling.

I wrote the day after the event last July 29, “As for her speech, it dragged on for just short of an hour, a testament to some speechwriter’s rhetorical abilities in allowing Hillary to even sound eloquent at times. But whenever she tried to emphasize a point, her voice climbed to a very unpleasant, screechy pitch and her eyes got real wide. Rather than sounding authoritative, she sounded whiney and nasty.

“This was definitely true towards the end of the address when Crooked Hillary summarized her main point of the evening:

“’Enough with the bigotry and the bombast. Donald Trump is not offering real change he’s offering empty promises. And what are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country; to keep you safe; to get you good jobs. To give your kids the opportunities they deserve.’

“’The choice is clear my friends.’”

Hillary was correct, the choice was very clear and many took the opportunity to reject the crooked Clintons, instead looking to a political outsider to attempt to patch the numerous holes in the leaky bottom of the American ship of government. In the year since Hillary’s screechy rambling oratory Donald Trump has given us a very different portrait of politics; some of his methods have worked swimmingly, others not as well.

But it’s never been dull. This is an exciting time in American politics because we have a president who is determined to do things differently and rock the boat. Trump’s announcement this week that transgender individuals could no longer serve in the military is just one example of his fresh approach.

The nostalgia of the semi-triumphant past is quickly replaced by the realities of the present, however, especially when considering the mess that is the current Republican congressional delegation, a group so gangrenous with swampy establishment fecklessness that they can’t get anything accomplished.

The recent intra-party back-and-forth debate over how to deal with the impending Obamacare implosion exposed deep fissures within the GOP caucuses in both the House and Senate. One consistent theme has emerged: the old Tea Party spirit that brought Republicans back to majorities in 2010 and 2014 (and Trump’s election in 2016) appears to be on the wane.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner wrote, “[E]ven if Republicans find a way to give Obamacare a haircut, part of a new ‘skinny’ welfare state, it will more closely resemble past free-market corrections of liberalism's excesses than a serious constitutional conservative challenge to liberalism.

“That doesn't bode well for the Tea Party project of rolling back major liberal initiatives. The point of voting Republican will remain to make the inexorable growth of the welfare state as slow and painful as possible, a political posture that may be attractive to neither libertarian-leaning conservatives nor the populists drawn to Trump in the last presidential election.

“The Tea Party came to repeal and replace Obamacare. They ended up getting repealed and replaced themselves.”

Ouch. As usual Antle’s reasoning is fair and well supported by the facts. But I respectfully disagree that it was the Tea Party that went down to defeat. Seeing as it was “only” seven Republican turncoats (all charter members of the discredited establishment) that voted against the latest attempt to repeal Obamacare, it would suggest there is room and hope for conservatives and Tea Partiers to continue the fight to take-over the GOP and turn it into a real conservative party.

Six Republican senators who went for the “show vote” Obamacare repeal bill in 2015 lost heart and joined the Democrats this week. Again, courtesy of the Washington Examiner, they are:

Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lisa Murkowski R-Alaska, and, Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

It’s curious to see John McCain among the “nay” group since just days before he delivered an impassioned plea for the Senate to reject the current partisan bickering and return to regular order in drafting legislation. So in essence the Arizona senator cast a vote snubbing a bill that would have provided the upper chamber with two years’ worth of hearings, witnesses, pontificating, bloviating and gesticulating to come up with something to replace Obamacare.

Instead we’re saddled with an un-repealed-Obama legacy, a hamstrung and ideologically bankrupt establishment leadership and only the hope of primary challenges left to offer conservative and Republican voters who are no doubt enraged at the GOP-controlled Senate’s inability to move the needle.

If Antle is correct – that conservatives’ only reasonable option is to keep following a Republican Party that seeks to slow the growth of the welfare state – then we might as well throw in the towel now and accept that the concept of liberty and limited government is gone forever.

I don’t believe capitulation is called for at present. The “show vote” conspirators have been exposed for all to see and there will be consequences, one way or another. The “centrists” and “moderates” are on the outs, principally those from rosy red Republican states that would send any old politician in Republican clothing to Washington.

That means the anti-progress “villains” in the Senate are no longer Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul; they’ve been replaced by wishy-washy big government “moderate” establishmentarians like Lamar Alexander, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Dean Heller. These corrupted swamp creatures can no longer hide under the lily pads in the bog – Donald Trump has drained the putrid water and revealed where all their hiding places are located.

In all of this, Trump is certainly not completely blameless. His recent Twitter tirades against Attorney General Jeff Sessions have largely been warrantless. But the president is definitely on the right side – and the establishment hates it.

In pursuit of a scapegoat for the GOP’s troubles, some #NeverTrumpers are ratcheting up calls to mount a primary challenge of their own in three years. Senior Editor Joel B. Pollak reported at Breitbart, “The path ahead is a conservative primary challenge to Trump in 2020, and the foundations are being laid now...

“The biggest problem for NeverTrump, however, is the pitiful performance of the Republican Congress, which has been unable to act on its core priorities, and reinforces the notion that only Trump is strong enough to lead the party.

“Nevertheless, NeverTrump sees in the 2020 race a reason to persist. It will continue to cast its fight as a principled one. Much of it, however, is about power and revenge. Apparently, NeverTrump cannot forgive Trump for winning.”

Pollak doesn’t name names in reference to “NeverTrump,” but we assume he’s talking about the usual suspects – people like Evan McMullin, the den of snakes at RedState and perhaps even eccentric Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.

As it is right now, #NeverTrump doesn’t have a prayer of knocking off Trump in a primary. How is this so? Because Trump is really the best thing going for the Republicans right now, a man who believes in something and acts on those beliefs. His twitter barrages against Jeff Sessions are troubling but I speculate they’re all just intended to get his side of the Russia narrative out in the public and force the media to talk about it.

As is well-known by now, Trump has many motivations for the things he does. Some measure of trust is called for even if it’s uncomfortable to see a good man like Sessions going through a bit of a rough patch.

For his part, the president doesn’t equivocate. Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “IN AMERICA WE DON'T WORSHIP GOVERNMENT - WE WORSHIP GOD!”

It’s a shame that it’s necessary for a president to declare such a thing. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be caught dead standing up for God – it runs counter to everything she and her party members believe. Clinton and the Washington establishment lost last year’s election, but recent events have proven the battle still rages.

Conservatives can either stand up and fight or wave a white flag and surrender.

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