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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Anyone who believes the GOP is a true conservative party, please stand up

Where are the conservatives in Congress?

It’s something you may have wondered recently along with every other American who’s paid attention to the day-by-day dealings in Washington. Republicans hold majorities (albeit slim in the senate) in both houses of Congress and Donald Trump calls the White House home yet the party that campaigns every two years on a Trump on healingbudget-conscious platform has embarked on a federal spending spree unseen since the likes of…well, maybe Obama’s first two years in office?

Trump’s predecessor got the deficit spending train rolling downhill and Republicans have jumped on for the ride. It could be argued they’re even stomping on the accelerator.

Scott Rasmussen wrote at Rasmussen Reports last week, “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with [Senator Rand] Paul’s statement: ‘When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party. But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party.’ Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree, but one-in-four voters (23%) are undecided…

“Democrats (50%) agree with the statement more than Republicans (37%) and unaffiliated voters (40%) do.

“It is important to note that Rasmussen Reports’ question about the statement did not identify Paul as the one who said it.”

In other words, people wouldn’t necessarily hedge their support for Paul’s statement based on their opinion of Paul himself. The Kentucky senator’s favorable/unfavorable ratings are about equal (42%-41%), certainly in the neighborhood of President’s Trump’s. It’s doubtful many Republicans command sterling ratings these days; with the voting public as divided as it is there are few nationally popular politicians.

One additional interesting note, Rasmussen wrote, “The government shut down for five-and-a-half hours last Friday night as Congress wrestled with the budget, but voters would rather see a shutdown until Congress can cut spending.”

If this was the case then why didn’t Republicans try harder to force Democrats into spending compromises? Sadly it’s because establishment Republicans don’t care about frugal spending half as much as they do about stoking the military industrial complex and a host of other big government programs like corporate welfare (Export-Import Bank) and agricultural subsidies. This may sound a little harsh, but that’s the way it is.

In essence, Paul is right – when Republicans are in power there is no conservative party; but there isn’t a true conservative party when Democrats call the shots either. One of the largest propagated myths in American politics today is that all Republicans are conservatives; far from it. Many conservatives are Republicans but it doesn’t always work the other way around.

The “three-legged stool” that elected Ronald Reagan president consisted of national security conservatives, fiscal/libertarian conservatives and religious/social conservatives. Some conservative leaders such as Richard Viguerie suggested a fourth “leg” was added when the Tea Parties sprung up in answer to Obama’s big government push in 2010.

Most tea partiers would seem to be from the fiscal/libertarian faction of conservatives – but again, many fiscal conservatives are also social conservatives due to their anti-big government orientation. Needless to say, tea partiers favor border security and a strong national defense too.

Most Republicans identify with one or more legs on the “conservative stool” but the percentage of full spectrum conservatives is noticeably smaller. Therefore you have a party claiming to be made up of conservatives yet isn’t a conservative party. Most observers might call Arizona Senator John McCain a national security conservative (among other names he might engender) but there’s a good argument he doesn’t fit neatly into either of the other categories.

And if McCain is for open borders can he realistically claim to care about national security? Maybe McCain doesn’t fit anywhere -- though he does have a strong pro-life record.

Meanwhile Democrats used to welcome conservatives but the twenty-first century version of the party has none – at least not in Congress. As was exposed by the Democrats’ complete unanimity in opposition to the tax cut proposal there aren’t any fiscal conservatives left in the party any longer. The same could be said for social and national security conservatives as well.

Democrats are now a coalition party consisting of liberal minority groups, wealthy “limousine” liberals who believe in big government social engineering (think Hollywood), big unions, leftist anarchist/environmentalists, uninformed and disgruntled young voters who don’t know any better (a.k.a. snowflakes) and the last remaining remnants of what was once thought of as “moderates” (such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin).

Democrats are much closer to being a unified liberal party than Republicans are to being an amalgamated conservative party. Anyone who doubts it should revisit the 2016 GOP primary campaign where just about every type of Republican was represented by one or several candidates and the race came down to the conservative choice (Ted Cruz) versus the populist/conservative problem-solver/swamp drainer and eventual winner (Donald Trump).

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders duked it out for the Democrat nomination but was there any difference between the two candidates’ issue positions? Not really.

The divide in the Republican Party was on full display last week after the tragic school shootings in Florida. Conservatives rallied around common sense and a realistic look at firearms while a few wishy-washy Republicans joined with Democrats and the media to bash on gun owners.

Cristiano Lima of Politico reported on one such squishy outcast. “Ohio Gov. John Kasich slammed lawmakers Sunday for failing to act in response to last week's mass shooting in Florida, urging them to ‘wake up’ and consider ‘common-sense gun laws.’...

“’I think Congress is totally dysfunctional. I’ve never seen anything like this,’ Kasich told CNN's Dana Bash on ‘State of the Union,’ also citing failures on immigration and cutting the federal deficit. ‘They just can’t seem to get anything done.’

“Kasich bemoaned Republican lawmakers’ unwillingness to consider beefing up gun regulations, stressing that there are ‘reasonable’ steps that could be taken to prevent further shootings.”

Like what, John? Every time a mass shooting occurs it’s the same political debate rerun from the last time. Democrats flock to media microphones to decry so-called “assault” weapons (which are just one trigger pull, one-shot rifles that look scary). Then some “moderate” Republicans follow behind casting aside realism to join the “we gotta do something – anything” chorus.

Then there are people like Congressman Steve Scalise who was shot last June by a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter with a – you guessed it – assault rifle. Scalise lived to tell about it and he’s not calling for any kind of gun grab now. The defect isn’t in the gun hardware in mass shootings – it’s in the hard-wiring of the brains of individuals who perpetrate them.

There isn’t a single law Congress could pass that would make a difference in any of these tragedies yet the political class -- and opportunists like Kasich -- try to look smart by assailing the 99.9999% of legal gun owners who store and use their weapons responsibly.

Emotion overwhelms the uninformed – but there’s no reason why Kasich should suggest everyone who disagrees with him has no “common sense.”

Why not take a hint from the Israelis (the worldwide experts in security)? Why not have anonymously armed faculty members at schools who would respond instantly to a shooter? It may not be the most politically correct way to say it, but why not fight fire with fire? We’re never going to stop every motivated would-be killer no matter how guns are restricted or banned. If you don’t believe it, look at Chicago where owning guns is severely limited...or Washington D.C. Gun violence is rampant in these places (though getting better under Trump).

Have gun critics forgotten the terrorist incidents of recent times (London, Nice (France), New York City, etc.) where Islamists used trucks to mow down people by the dozens? Should we do something about trucks too?

I bet open-borders proponents like Kasich wouldn’t do anything about “extreme vetting” of Muslim immigrants from warring regions of the world either.

While Kasich is correct about the dysfunction in Congress it isn’t likely to get better by sending more “common sense moderates” to the institution. None other than 2012 Republican presidential loser Mitt Romney officially threw his hat into the ring last week – he’s running for senate in Utah.

Regardless of Mitt’s resume, something just doesn’t seem right about him.

Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote at National Review, “Romney’s severe disability is found in the Constitution: ‘No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States.’ Romney looks, acts, and thinks like an American noble, one who tragically cannot be made into a duke or earl. If America gave out titles, surely the Romneys would have received one or more by now. In such a world, Romney’s sense of duty, and the sense of deference in the public to excellence like his, would have provided him with suitable offices.

“Romney belongs to an extremely exclusive Mormon subculture of successful families. These are the men who built Huntsman Chemical, Marriott International, JetBlue Airways. Like the ancient families with titles, Romney is subject to confusingly personal feuds within this group — namely with Jon Huntsman Jr. — that have no real political content...

“He should drop ‘Mr Utah’ and just be himself, a man who excels at every endeavor other than being a regular Joe.”

Romney doesn’t excel at conservatism either. When pondering the various groups of conservatives (above) it’s hard to figure where Mitt Romney belongs – his ever-evolving liberal social views, his dedication to growing government in Massachusetts (remember Romneycare?) and his lukewarm commitments to border security and preventing amnesty call into question whatever conservative credentials Romney purports to carry.

In a conservative state like Utah (that produced one of the top conservatives in the senate – Senator Mike Lee) why would anyone choose Mitt Romney to represent them in Washington?

Adding Mitt to the already ideologically festering swampy ooze on Capitol Hill wouldn’t help the GOP – or America. As Dougherty pointed out in his article, Romney is a good man, but he doesn’t relate well to “average” people and his views on issues are all over the place. More than likely Romney would be a thorn in President’s Trump side, too – and the last thing we need are more principle-free Republicans jumping on the Democrats’ kneejerk bandwagon.

It’s a legitimate question to ask where the conservatives in Congress are today. Certainly the GOP’s promises to forge a more conservative direction in government haven’t been realized in a lot of ways; the only answer is to make sure good people go to Washington and then hold them accountable once they get there.

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Political games

This is the eternal struggle of Republicans and Democrats. You can get confused in those political games and preachings of each party. For me, it was easier to understand the online game There is everything clear: choose the candidate, collect money and votes, swallow up opponents and win! It is more interesting than real politics, too.