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Outsiders vs. Insiders: When everything’s a political hill to die on, no one reaches the top

If you’ve ever witnessed two people who would normally be on the same side of an issue arguing over a possible solution to a persistent problem and thought, ‘this one’s a no brainer’ you understand the dilemma conservative and Republican groups face heading into the stretch drive for next month’s critical midterm elections.

It appears there’s disagreement among party poohbahs over the best way to handle the final three weeks’ worth of time and money to maximize GOP votes on Election Day. As you might surmise, the breakdown is Donald Trump between competing interests in the swampy “go along to get along” wishy-washy establishment consultant class. Both sides are bickering over distribution of resources when the hot button messaging answer is right before their eyes.

David M. Drucker reported at The Washington Examiner, “Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with senior GOP leaders, canceled advertising in the expensive Denver and D.C. media markets, concluding vulnerable Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Barbara Comstock, R-Va., couldn’t hold their suburban districts and that the money would be better spent elsewhere.

“But the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s official House campaign arm, continues to invest millions in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District and Virginia’s 10th, despite being outgunned and outmanned by Democrats there and in several other seats across the country poised to fall to the Democrats...

“House Republicans are defending a 23-seat majority amid severe political headwinds fanned by dissatisfaction with President Trump. The NRCC and CLF are both claiming internal polling shows their candidates benefited from the contentious battle to install newly minted associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.”

Therein lies the problem. Both establishment groups (NRCC and CLF) are grumbling over allocation of monetary resources when they should be demanding all of their candidates hit the pavement hard with a message that sounds a little like this: “Brett Kavanaugh, Brett Kavanaugh and Brett Kavanaugh.”

After the candidates are done talking about Brett Kavanaugh they should talk about Brett Kavanaugh a little more and then maybe throw in something like how Democrats are now all-in for amnesty for illegal aliens, against securing the southern border with a large beautiful concrete wall and generally don’t care much about working people or law enforcement because they’re too busy pandering to their leftist interest groups to back common sense proposals to solve society-wide dilemmas.

It shouldn’t be forgotten how many Democrats recently pushed for abolishing ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). How extreme are they? How low would they go if they were in power? Is there any such thing as a “moderate” Democrat any longer? Nope.

President Trump’s hit the campaign trail with gusto to help both House and Senate Republican candidates in a number of states but he can’t be all places at all times. If the GOP’s campaign arms would stop fretting about how many TV ads to purchase in big media markets and devote more time and energy to rallying around a coherent nationalized message for all party candidates to tout they would be ahead just about everywhere except for those dense gerrymandered enclaves of Democrat mind-numbed and goody-seeking partisans.

The national economic numbers are simply too good for Republicans to do otherwise. Drucker reported Democrats are significantly ahead in cash on hand and had a huge head start in fundraising this year. So, there’s no winning that battle at present – it’s a little late to even try. By now most voters have already made up their minds and the few who remain on the fence are probably persuadable only by giving them something of value to make voting worthwhile – and I’m not talking about a government handout.

If the Democrats’ latest behavior over Brett Kavanaugh didn’t sway them then nothing else will.

At its most basic level politics really isn’t that complicated – you start with a pool of voters and your job is to convince a preponderance to vote for you. Politics isn’t like professional hockey where your team still gets a point for an “overtime loss.” No, in politics it’s either win or lose and you achieve victory by having at least one more vote than the next highest vote getter.

In today’s highly polarized political environment it’s vital to ensure your party base is activated and ready to fight for your candidates. Republican House hopefuls would benefit greatly by announcing support for Congressman Jim Jordan to be the next GOP leader (either Speaker or Minority Leader) because voters would then realize in advance that party priorities would be addressed under conservative leadership. No more running to Nancy Pelosi to scrape up votes to pass a “compromise” measure nobody wants; no more sitting on legislation that’s imperative to the grassroots; no more pulling committee assignments as retribution for defying the establishment bosses and big donors.

Isn’t that what a leader is supposed to do? Jordan would do it. No brainer again, right?

Meanwhile, American voters have already seen a preview of what Democrat control of Congress would look like – endless House investigations of the Trump administration, a sustained movement to impeach the president regardless of a lack of evidence and plenty of Democrat posturing over single-payer “Medicare for all” healthcare and various other giveaways that always accompany liberal majorities.

In the senate a Democrat majority equals a guaranteed end to confirming any of President Trump’s judicial nominations the next two years. In addition, the budget process would completely break down and literally nothing would get done. Everything of importance would be shoved to the side until after the 2020 election. Assuming Trump survived impeachment he’d still be considerably less capable of advancing the fundamental items on his agenda.

Want a border wall? Want to make the tax cuts permanent? Want to make sure the federal courts are populated by judges who interpret the Constitution rather than write their own views into law? Then we’d better make sure Democrats lose next month.

Perhaps most importantly, everything is politicized to death when Democrats reign. Think the Mueller investigation is stupid and inane? Just wait until you see what House Democrats come up with under the insanely biased oversight of Rep. Adam “Shifty” Schiff and Rep. Maxine Waters. The administration would be so bogged down with defending itself there wouldn’t be any time left to advance the MAGA agenda. Trump’s first two successful years of his tenure would be utterly squandered.

Pundits always claim the next election is the “most important of a lifetime” … but is it really an exaggeration in this case? Conservatives and Republicans should be itching to get into the voting booth on November 6. It’s up to party directors to make sure they have good reason to do so.

No one knows what the future holds but given the advanced ages of a few of the current members of the Supreme Court there’s a very real possibility another vacancy could materialize before the 2020 election. Even after what America’s just been through with Kavanaugh, oddly enough, Republican senators aren’t sure how they’d approach the prospect.

Jordain Carney reported at The Hill, “Days after the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the court, key GOP lawmakers are giving different answers over whether they’d fill a Supreme Court seat if there is an opening in 2020, the next presidential election year.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to rule out taking up a nomination in 2020, even though Republicans blocked Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s nominee, from getting a hearing or a vote in the presidential election year of 2016...

“Two other Republicans took starkly different views from McConnell. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), fresh off the brutal Kavanaugh fight, told Fox News that if he is still committee chairman and there is a Supreme Court opening in 2020, the panel ‘won’t take it up.’ ‘Because I pledged that in 2016,’ Grassley told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum. ‘That's a decision I made a long time ago.’”

The “other” Republican Carney referenced is Senator Lindsey Graham, who indicated he would be “inclined” to wait until after 2020 to take up a vacancy. Other Republicans quoted in the article weren’t as certain, though a couple pointed out there’s nothing in the Constitution to prevent the senate from addressing an opening in an election year.

McConnell merely observed established tradition two years ago (in refusing to go forward on Garland’s nomination) but is often cited by Democrat hypocrites as an obstructionist; in doing so the liberals are just grasping for any excuse to vote against a Trump nominee. They used the “but Merrick Garland!” pretext last year for Neil Gorsuch and again last month for Brett Kavanaugh – though Democrats eventually moved on when no one was wowed by it.

Citing senate precedent, McConnell placed Garland’s nomination on the backburner because the president and senate majority were not from the same party in 2016 (when Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died). It turns out McConnell was correct to do so -- the last Supreme Court justice to be confirmed in a presidential election year (with the White House and senate in different party hands) was in the 1880’s.

No one alive remembers it but Democrats would have everyone thinking Republicans did something abhorrent in refusing to take up Obama’s nominee in the heat of a presidential race.

With the presidency and senate likely under GOP control (even after this year’s midterm elections) all bets are off, though it seems apparent if the majority leader did push a nomination through during a national primary nomination cycle it would engender a HUGE backlash, something the media would surely spin negatively and wouldn’t be looked upon favorably by the public.

#NeverTrumpers – or what’s left of them at that point – would cry bloody murder and reaffirm their vows to never vote for Trump. Then there’d be rancor within Republican ranks in addition to the storm of hate brought down by Democrats competing for their own party nod. There isn’t a good scenario here.

In other words, it would make Republicans look duplicitous and could endanger the entire election for GOP senate candidates – and possibly Trump too if he didn’t play it right. The situation might also depend on whose departure created the vacancy in the first place. If it were Justice Clarence Thomas (age 70) or Samuel Alito (age 68) the pressure (on McConnell) would be intense to fill the seat with another originalist conservative before the opportunity was lost.

Then again, if staunch liberal “anything goes” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 85) were to bow out, the temptation to fill her seat with a constitutionalist conservative would almost be too much to resist. Not surprisingly GOP senators weren’t in any hurry to commit to one course or the other.

Besides, such a question is entirely hypothetical. There are plenty of “real” matters to deal with right now. One such controversy is how to possibly avoid another grisly Supreme Court confirmation fight the next time around.

Sarah Turberville wrote at The Hill, “Many are encouraging elected officials from both parties to exact new forms of payback for past partisan gamesmanship. Calls for court-packing and impeachments have already begun, which may make an aggrieved side feel better, but are dangerous to the legitimacy of the courts. Without intervention, we will witness a rapid race to the bottom.

“The alternative is a call for a detente. It is apparent that the present confirmation process is no longer suited for the divisive political culture we now find ourselves in. We need a process that is fair and rigorous, yet expeditious — and that transcends party power and control…” 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Turberville suggested the vote level could be raised to requiring 60 votes for confirmation – or to turn the nomination selection process over to a bipartisan commission (as some states apparently already do) – so as to magically “discover” a human being who would be acceptable to all sides of the political war.

As was amply demonstrated by the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh confirmation processes, there’s no such thing as a conservative-leaning judge who Democrats would even consider. If the media reported on the topic fairly all Americans would realize constitutional originalist judges aren’t their enemies – far from it. Originalists are by far the most deferential to the political branches, requiring legislatures and governors to do their jobs when making laws.

“It may also be time to think about some changes previously believed to be heresy — namely an end to life tenure. While it was meant to insulate judges from politics, it also means that a court vacancy allows presidents to leave their mark on the country for decades to come, raising the stakes of each nomination,” Turberville concluded.

This proposal is more meritorious and some conservatives (such as Doug Bandow) would support it. Worth discussing for another time.

Questions on how to conduct effective campaigns or how to confirm the next Supreme Court justice are difficult and opinions diverge widely. The “old” American political system might produce a workable solution, but in today’s environment, everything’s a political hill to die on.

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RINOs & neo-cons surrender first...

RINOs & neo-cons surrender first on nearly every issue, then after being kicked by the "little people" a few times, make desultory efforts, not making use of every tool & opportunity to defend against the Dems/ Reds/ Leftists/ Regressives, but going along with them.

And certainly not advancing reforms, not increasing government respect for life, liberty, property & privacy. Not reducing student, exchange, guest-work, green card visas, and not setting or improving standards for applicants to get those visas. Not fencing or walling all 6K or so miles of USA borders, nor even merely the part with Mexico. Certainly not relieving us from the anti-constitutional leftist/ regressive perversions of the last 120 years.

The top 30 most important issues for non-leftists are hills worth laying siege to, repeatedly proposing legislation to turn around or repeal. And, yes, it is most often better to elect a squish than an extreme leftist, better to elect a strong non-leftist than a neo-con or RINO, better to drive out one more extreme leftist from city hall, county, state legislature or court or executive, from federal congress or court or bureaucracy. It is better to eliminate just one federal government office or agency or department than to merely curse their evil.

Liberals dying on the Petite Coates (little hills)

Great piece Jeff!

You're right; politics ISN'T that complicated. What makes it so is the fact that the monied class is at odds with the majority of voters and the GOP is caught in a quandary, trying to fool the voters to please the financiers. Oh, and the media, we cannot forget them. Republicans fear being destroyed by the media through scurrilous charges and liberlous slander. So they walk on eggshells all the time. But victory would be easy if they would grow a spine and speak Truth to Power aka tell the liberals to go stuff it. But they won't because they don't think that way. They want to be everything to everybody.

Oh, by the way, the fact that every hill is now one worth expiring upon is evidence that we are winning, as the Left is growing increasingly frantic in their efforts to maintain power. It means we have to be willing to die on those hills ourselves, or at least fight on them. Too bad so many in the GOP want to play patty-cake with the opposition instead.

Tim Birdnow