We have met the enemy and it is us.
Despite a last-minute push by a few conservatives to rally votes for a “clean” Continuing Resolution, the Republicans in the House once again abandoned conservative principle and their promises on spending to pass a $1.047 trillion Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government for the next six-months. The price comes in at some $106 billion above what was agreed to earlier this summer.
That Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the House GOP leadership would cave-in on spending will come as no surprise to conservatives. You can see the roll call here to check how your Congressman voted.
However, in the lead-up to the vote, where were all the conservative “leaders” in the House, or for that matter, on the air waves and in the conservative advocacy groups?
They were mostly MIA until a few hours before the debate started.
We don’t buy the idea that some Republican House leaders were selling, including some conservatives who should know better, that the CR avoids the prospect of an even worse omnibus spending bill in the post-election lame duck session.
We have been saying for a long time that Boehner must go, and after the vote on the CR, other principled small government constitutional conservatives -- such as Mark Levin -- joined the chorus calling for Boehner’s ouster.
But let’s keep our eye on the ball. Blaming one failed leader is the easy way out.
Conservatives need to do more to hold rank-and-file Republicans’ feet to the fire on spending and other conservative principles, and so far we haven’t done a very good job of that.
Big government House Republicans -- including at least four we opposed in their primaries for being big spenders, such as John Mica of Florida, the GOP’s pork barrel apologist in chief -- survived credible primary challenges by fiscal conservatives.
If we can’t or won’t police our own – if there are no consequences for Republicans who claim to be conservatives and then abandon their principles, or have no principles at all – it is little wonder that many who ran as fiscal conservatives caved-in to Boehner’s principle-free leadership and voted in favor of the Continuing Resolution.
However, while many Republicans who ran as conservatives went along with the House leadership on the CR, a good number held to their principles and did not.
Some 70 Republicans voted “NO” on the Continuing Resolution. Principled young conservatives such as Justin Amash, Jeff Duncan, Tim Scott and Tim Huelskamp joined longtime fiscal conservatives like Jeff Flake and Michele Bachmann to buck the House leadership. However, these principled small government constitutional conservatives are not in leadership positions yet, and they aren’t even a majority of the majority.
The good news is it looks like we have 70 in the House who will stand with us. To become “a majority of the majority,” however, we need to elect just 51 more candidates to the House like Amash, Duncan, Scott, Huelskamp, Flake and Bachmann – that’s an achievable goal if conservatives will lead.
If small government constitutional conservatives are ever going to become “a majority of the majority” we conservatives have to make that happen. We can’t wait around for someone else to do it – we have to become the leaders we are looking for and rally a majority of grassroots voters behind conservative candidates, elect them, and then hold their feet to the fire if they waver on conservative principles.