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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Boring Republicans need a ‘Blaze of Glory’ alarm before it’s too late

In a fight when your back is against a wall the only thing left is to surrender -- or come out swinging.

It’s a situation everyone’s faced at one point or another, a circumstance when the only remaining option is to try something bold in hopes of achieving glory – or legitimately accept defeat knowing you gave it everything Trump tosses speechyou have and left it all on the proverbial table. “Go big or go home” is one way to put it.

In football it’s the “Hail Mary” pass. In golf it’s a driver off the deck to a par five. Apollo 13’s flight engineers courageously used the Lunar Module to keep its three astronauts alive until reentry into earth’s orbit – basically the last hope to save them. Sometimes boldness works, sometimes it doesn’t. But cowardice is never rewarded.

With polls consistently showing the Republican Party trailing the Democrats in the 2018 generic congressional ballot, many have prematurely conceded the GOP will lose handsomely in this year’s midterm elections. With special election losses in red territory seemingly piling up (the most recent being a stunning loss in the Wisconsin race to elect a new Supreme Court justice), the writing appears to be on the wall for Republicans; the only mystery is how bad it will be.

The bleak long-term outlook doesn’t mean Republicans have no alternatives; far from it. For example, they could recognize they’re in a tight spot and govern like they’re about to lose the ability to do so.

Last week the Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “The blue wave is likely to drown Republicans, the good and the bad, indiscriminately and, as is the way with waves, there is little anyone can do to stop this one.

“Republicans should therefore be bold and pass good, conservative policies on the state and federal levels. Too often, Republicans are afraid to ‘spend’ their power by passing legislation easy to demagogue. They value retaining their power over exercising their power.

“Retaining power may not be an option for Republicans in 2018. So there is no reason for the party not to do what it believes in. A bold conservative agenda may help save some GOP seats or some state legislatures by showing that Republicans stand for something and walk the walk rather than just talking the talk.”

Yes indeed. Conservatives have literally begged the GOP’s establishment congressional leaders to use all available (legal and constitutional) means to churn out President Donald Trump’s agenda. With a healthy majority in the House and a slim but effective preponderance in senate seats the GOP could work through and vote on bills on any number of issues that would qualify as markers for the American public.

Or if the bills are filibustered in the senate, highlight the blockade in the news. Keep pounding the Democrats until they relent; should the minority party continue its own suicidal obstruction mission at least the public will give Republicans credit for trying to move the needle. If they fail they’ll leave with the satisfaction of knowing they went out with legislative guns ‘a blazin’.

In 1990 New Jersey native son Jon Bon Jovi immortalized the concept in his song “Blaze of Glory” where he memorably crooned, “I'm going out in a blaze of glory…Lord, I never drew first…But I drew first blood…”

Republicans haven’t shot first – in fact they’ve been on the receiving end of a Democrat rhetorical artillery barrage ever since President Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton on Election Day 2016. By now everyone knows Trump often “shoots back” when shot at -- but where’s the rest of his party’s posse to support the flanks?

The House Freedom Caucus and certain senators (like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz) regularly get their verbal return fire into the news but congressional poohbahs Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are still heads down in the GOP bunker somewhere waiting for the wave to roll over and return them to the minority status they richly deserve for lack of fortitude.

The Senate filibuster roadblock remains but there are ways to break it. Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has not hesitated to deploy every procedural trick in the book to stall progress in the upper chamber. McConnell could “nuke” the filibuster as Trump has suggested numerous times (and was done a year ago to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch) or play hardball in other ways to break up the enemy’s assault.

If McConnell won’t do it Trump himself could take matters into his own hands if necessary.

Ned Ryun wrote last week at American Greatness, “Since Mitch McConnell has seemingly decided that Chuck Schumer is his joint majority leader, it’s time for Donald Trump to lay down the law with Schumer. Here’s how:

“Later this week, the president should announce that for every day his nominees fail to be consolidated on an appropriate Senate bill and brought up for a vote, the executive office of the president, working with cabinet secretaries, will shut down department offices of importance to Senator Schumer and his Democratic leadership.

“If the president can’t have his team, Schumer won’t have his. Period. Squeeze Schumer until he squeals.”

Such a bold step would certainly draw howls of protest (and squeals from Schumer) from the media. Where Trump is concerned, just when we think we’ve heard everything possible from the left, the uproar over the Democrats’ bluff on administration personnel being called would set records for pitch, volume and speed. The level would go so high the sound barrier might even shatter.

Sadly it could take some “blaze of glory” action like this to achieve real change in Washington. As Ryun pointed out in his piece, we’re fifteen months into Trump’s presidency and things aren’t getting done on his agenda because a record number of appointees are still awaiting their day in confirmation court (sometimes known as committee or a full senate vote).

Therefore Obama holdovers are still working the levers on the government’s machinery. How would the Democrats like it if/when they win back the presidency and Trump’s people are entrenched and refuse to leave? How can McConnell allow Schumer to get away with this torturous bending of traditions to achieve results that were never conceived of by the Founding Fathers?

Needless to say McConnell and Ryan could do a lot more to force the Democrats’ hand. Kurt Schlichter wrote last week at Townhall, “Democrats, particularly ones from America, say they believe in the right to keep and bear arms? Great, let’s let them prove it.

“How about Paul Ryan get someone to introduce a bill called ‘The Right to Defend American Families and Freedom Act’ that says, ‘In addition to the individual right to keep and bear arms cited the Second Amendment, this Act separately provides that all law-abiding, healthy adults have an individual right to keep and bear effective firearms for lawful activities including sporting activities and to defend themselves, their families, their communities and their Constitution.’ And it should provide for attorney’s fees award and litigation priority for any American citizen forced to sue to secure his rights.

“Let’s see the Democrats sweat when called on to vote on that one. See, we need to give them hard, painful choices designed to either allow us to enact laws to protect the rights of us Normals, or to put the fake-Blue Dog Dems in the agonizing stress position of having to vote against such popular laws – which our candidates will promptly jam down their throats in November.”

In his typical fashion Schlichter offers several more hypothetical bills Republicans could easily introduce to draw sharp lines between themselves and their Democrat opponents/oppressors. It shouldn’t be forgotten Republicans need to be on offense, not defense. Seeing as the leadership decides which bills make it to the floor the House majority can do pretty much anything it desires.

For instance, instead of allowing Democrats to fly back to their districts every week to campaign against them Republicans could simply alter the calendar and produce simple legislation that adds pressure on the minority to put their votes on the record. What have Republicans got to lose? Some of the best outcomes in history have resulted from leaders acting boldly and fearlessly, not out of desperation.

Congressional Republicans would benefit from adopting more of a Trumpian philosophy – every day’s an opportunity to do something positive for the American people. Trump leads by example, seemingly impervious to criticism from the media, Democrats -- and certain members of his own party. Trump’s sometimes whiny tweets belie the real truth – the man’s skin is thicker than an elephant.

Last week Trump demonstrated he also still possesses a flair for the dramatic. W. James Antle III wrote at the Washington Examiner, “Speaking at a tax reform roundtable in West Virginia, President Trump literally threw away his prepared remarks to launch into an attack on ‘weak’ immigration laws and ‘incompetently drawn’ trade deals that allow Americans to be ‘taken advantage of.’

“’It would have taken about two minutes, but what the hell,’ Trump said after tossing a piece of paper as the crowd laughed. ‘That would have been a little boring. Little boring. No, I'm reading off the first paragraph and I said, ‘This is boring. Come on.’’

“Flanked by two Republican Senate candidates, Trump is busy campaigning to preserve and even expand the GOP majorities on Capitol Hill. ‘We have to get Republicans in office,’ he said. But he has increasingly been discarding the traditional Republican script to emphasize his own populist themes.”

We need more than additional Republicans in office – we need conservative Republicans.

And why should Trump stick to a script? The speech was probably written by some establishment hack who wants him to speak nicely about the opposition and emphasize the measures he’s taking to shore up the nation’s borders and that they will treat illegal aliens (in their stupid “caravan”) with kid gloves instead of the proverbial rear-kicking they deserve.

By again emphasizing immigration and trade Trump is merely returning to the themes that got him – and a boatload of Republicans – elected in 2016. In the interim Democrats haven’t come up with a magic theme with which they can hammer Republicans this year. While there’s plenty of evidence Democrat voters are enthused about November’s elections (still seven months away) – Republicans must highlight the issues that got them to the majority in the first place.

Delivering “boring” speeches and making friends with Democrats isn’t going to get the job done. By taking pressure off the opposition it only provides them time and opportunity to pursue witch hunts against Trump and members of his administration like EPA Director Scott Pruitt.

Meanwhile, Democrats have problems of their own, namely the perpetual delusion that their uproar over repealing the Second Amendment, blind but baseless faith in the Robert Mueller “collusion” investigation and hysteria over non-issues like porn star Stormy Daniels will be sufficient to carry them to victory.

With seven months to go until the midterm elections Republicans’ backs aren’t exactly against the wall – yet -- but it would still behoove them to act as if they were. Bold action will not only ensure the GOP agenda makes headway this year but will also give them something to smile about.

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