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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Have GOP leaders turned traitor or will they act before it’s too late?

In the old days, warfare was much simpler. Generally speaking armies marched under a common flag, wore brightly colored uniforms (to unmistakably identify themselves to friends and enemies alike) and refused to even consider switching sides mid-battle for fear of being taken prisoner (or worse) and therefore confined to a prison barge for the duration of the conflict.

In other words, if you were a soldier you knew who your friends were. Your commanders may not have always Republican leadersbeen the best trained or best suited for leadership positions, but they had the interests of the army (if not the men individually) at heart and certainly didn’t work to sabotage their own efforts.

There are exceptions, of course -- we won’t talk about Benedict Arnold here.

Theoretically speaking contemporary politics should work the same way. Political parties aren’t all that different than armies without guns; if you’re an elected official you should march shoulder-to-shoulder into battle everyday with your fellow grunts to attack the opposition (enemy), use whatever procedural and numerical benefits (weapons) you possess to your mutual advantage and pass legislation (fire volleys) to strive for victory.

The problem for the Republican Party these days is its officers aren’t acting in coordination with the commander-in-chief. As president, Donald Trump sets the agenda, but GOP heads aren’t complying with his orders. There are a variety of explanations given for their common failure, but one thing’s for certain: all of this is working to the party’s (army’s) detriment.

In an appropriately titled piece “The Congressional GOP is Suicidal,” Brandon J. Weichert wrote last week at The American Spectator, “It’s almost as though there aren’t only two parties in the United States today. Instead, there is the Democratic Party, which has all but announced its intentions to engage in a socialist revolution; there’s the anemic Republican elite — the beautiful losers — sitting comfortably in their taxpayer-feathered nests on Capitol Hill (and at various think tanks); and then Donald Trump. The first two parties are viscerally opposed to Trump’s presence in Washington, D.C. and are actively working to undermine his ability to govern, so as not to damage their gilded enclave in Washington, D.C...

“President Trump appears to have figured out GOP duplicity and is lighting a proverbial fire under their hides: he is demanding that Congress either fully fund the border wall or suffer a government shutdown. Naturally, the weak-kneed GOP leadership is already crying over what they perceive as an irrational threat from ‘that man’ in the White House. The simplest solution would be to give the voters (and Trump) what they want. But, Mitch McConnell and the Beltway Boys know better. They’d rather risk losing reelection than give in to Trump and the voters (or to retire, as Jeff Flake and others are doing).

“Trump says he’ll allow a government shutdown to occur to get what he wants. That just might have to happen because the GOP won’t do it on its own. If it does, it will be a watered down, meaningless version of what the voters want…”

Weichert’s is an awfully dark point of view but sad to say, it’s accurate. Since the beginning of Trump’s political career party leaders have been less than enthusiastic about the one-time Democrat “outsider” usurping their authority and ultimately being viewed (by the voters at least) as the head of their faction. It seems like a very long time ago indeed, but party poohbahs even devised a “loyalty pledge” for 2016 Republican candidates to sign, stating that the signees would support the eventual primary winner (and not run as a third-party candidate).

Needless to say rank-and-file soldiers don’t require any such “pledge” to support the military command. If they don’t do as they’re told they’ll be brought before a magistrate for a court martial, drummed out of camp as a traitor – or maybe even shot. Trump’s lieutenants on Capitol Hill aren’t acting very “loyal” these days, however, acting (as Weichert pointed out) as though they can just ignore the chief executive’s threats and do whatever they like.

It would be all-too simple for GOP congressional leaders to comply with Trump’s appeals. The vast majority of party congressmen and senators support Trump’s agenda and perfunctorily say nice things about the president; only a relative handful of RINO “moderates” are openly disdainful of their White House compatriot and perhaps a mere token few senators are potential turncoats.

These trifling holdouts don’t exactly cower beneath a false flag but you know who they are based on certain behaviors. Leadership could easily flush them out of hiding by setting up votes on Trump’s main agenda items – like funding the border wall – but instead the brain trust prefers taking the less daring road traveled. Nothing will ever change in Washington until Republicans elect leaders like Rep. Jim Jordan (running for Speaker) who will press the enemy.

As Weichert so effectively highlighted in his article, the elites don’t care about Trump or the voters, hence the antipathy and reluctance to support the main thrust of the “army.”

Conservative-themed movie lovers may remember there’s a scene in the film “Braveheart” to demonstrate the argument. Main character William Wallace is in the heat of battle and suddenly pauses to wave a flag – a signal to the Scottish so-called noblemen to join the fight with their cavalry. With contemptuous looks on their faces the nobles acknowledge the moment and then turn their horses in the opposite direction – they’d sold out their own countrymen, especially Wallace.

The same thing is happening today in Congress. Trump is out there fighting the good fight, taking on the Democrats and the media to advance the cause of conservatives. Instead of rushing forward with reinforcements, however, the ruling class tucks tail and runs. The battle’s not yet lost but it’s getting late in the day and the “men” are weary.

A carried-through threat to partially shutdown the government could be what’s needed to jar the leadership out of their arrogant stupor. We’ll know more at the end of next month as the federal budget deadline approaches (September 30). In the meantime, House members are now home in their districts campaigning as the senate remains in the swamp slogging through appropriations bills and slowly performing the job of confirming Trump’s judge and administration nominees.

Naturally liberals and Democrats are more than happy to add their two cents regarding the opposite party’s impotence. Juan Williams wrote Monday at The Hill, “Long before Trump entered politics, McConnell proved his worth as a tactician. Now, with an unpopular Republican president and an approval rating of just 15 percent for the GOP-controlled Congress, the last thing McConnell needs is a big flashing reminder to voters of his party’s inability to do a basic task — keep the government running.

“Trump remains stubborn about his border wall; the Koch network is ready to retaliate against any Republican who passes a spending bill not to its liking; and don’t forget those fractious House conservatives itching for a public fight to show they are still relevant.

“Some Republicans are going to be disappointed here. The real loser if this shutdown happens — as with all previous shutdowns — will be the American economy.”

Nonsense. Should the stock market take a hit in the event of a shutdown it would only be temporary. The market hates uncertainty, and when swampy establishment leaders fight among themselves over who gets the windfalls/punishments in the already bloated federal budget, that’s instability defined.

If GOP leaders could ever get themselves to slash spending in a meaningful way, watch the economy takeoff. But deciding to cut the budget would involve a whole host of potentially damaging political tradeoffs – and Republican leaders run from uncomfortable confrontations like the plague. It’s funny how Williams is so complimentary of Mitch McConnell yet still hoots over Congress’s 15 percent approval rate.

Could it be Congress is so unpopular because it’s viewed as never accomplishing anything? Trump isn’t much better when it comes to holding down federal outlays but at least he’s pushing for economic reforms that will save Uncle Sam money in the long run. Enforcing the immigration laws alone would result in an instant windfall for the taxpayers – think of all the resources illegal aliens consume without paying a dime in taxes (at least payroll and income taxes).

Liberals like Williams also consistently overestimate the importance/benefits of government interference in the economy. Business leaders primarily watch how much government messes with the business cycle – through taxes and regulations – so a shutdown would have little or no effect on what they’re doing in their private capacities.

So how exactly would the economy suffer if the government shuts down? Liberals won’t answer that one.

The GOP could conceivably be damaged by the bad publicity of a shutdown so close to this year’s midterm elections, but shouldn’t this possibility provide extra incentive for party leaders to act now to avoid the embarrassment? If Republicans do lose control of the House it’s because they’re too afraid to break the status quo rather than taking bold steps to give people what they asked for when they voted for Trump. None of this is hard…why can’t they figure it out?

In many respects Republicans are their own worst enemies. Conservative Charlie Gerow wrote at The Hill, “Today’s constant polarization and politicization of everything didn’t start with Donald Trump — or his detractors. Some vigilance will be required to find common ground for moving the nation forward and protecting our republic.

“That common ground is more difficult to acquire when those with differing political views see themselves as not only intellectually superior to those with whom they disagree, but also morally exceptional. Too often that has caused competing sides to stop meeting, socializing, talking and breaking bread…

“Heated and passionate debate is essential to a thriving republic. Personal attacks and attempts to destroy the foundations of our government are not. Daily vigilance is needed to keep faith with our Founders. It’s our Republic. It’s still up to us to keep it.”

If there’s a shortage of interparty bread-breaking in Washington today it isn’t because President Trump hasn’t tried to encourage it. At times he may be a bit quick on the Twitter “send” button but he’s begged and cajoled the opposition to negotiate and compromise on issues ranging from defense spending to immigration reform to doing something to fix the gigantic Obamacare mess left over from his predecessor. At every corner Democrats appeared to collaborate only to deny him a single vote on most proposals.

It's like inviting the enemy to armistice talks and having them attack you as they exit.

It's hard to sit down with someone who’ll tell you something to your face only to pull the rug out from under you when greeted with the intense glare of the media. If the republic is in trouble it’s from internal threats, not an invading army. Will it ever improve?

Not if it’s up to the leftists themselves. They’re too busy being duplicitous. Victor Morton of the Washington Times reported on one such hypocrite, “Guns for me, but not for thee. The National Rifle Association taunted gun control activist David Hogg and his group’s Saturday protest at its Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters by noting his security.

“’Today, @davidhogg111 (with armed security) and a bunch of gun-grabbing activists protested our empty HQ,’ the gun-rights organization wrote on Twitter on Saturday night.

“With the tweet, the NRA also posted a photo of Mr. Hogg getting into a black vehicle protected by gun-wielding security.”

You can’t fight a “war” without guns -- and if the left gets their firearm confiscating way they’ll not only start the fighting they’ll also possess all the weapons. We can’t let them get away with it. President Trump invited them in to talk and they refused to concede an inch even when confronted with all the evidence in the world contrary to what they were asserting.

David Hogg is among the worst offenders, obviously taking advantage of his “fame” six months after the fact to raise money and trick gullible people into supporting his gun control mission. It begs a question: who’s paying for all of this? Who’s cutting the checks to have big armed men protecting little snot-nosed would-be gun grabbers?

Conservatives deserve better than they’re getting from the GOP congressional leadership, a collection of establishment politicians who always take the easy way out when confronted with a challenge. A change is needed – hopefully it won’t be forced upon us by this year’s elections.

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