Accepting the Democrat revision of history in its entirety, Establishment Republicans insist that the 1995 government shutdown yielded disastrous losses for the GOP, possibly including the presidential election of the following year. As usual, the facts simply do not support this contention.
Senator Ted Cruz (R.-TX) is doing grassroots America an enormous favor on several fronts. By standing resolute in his assertion that Obamacare can and should be defunded, he is showing the way to dismantle a malignant socialist monster that fundamentally threatens the American ideal. Perhaps of greater importance is that in the process he is smoking out those liberal Trojan Horses who have infested the GOP, and who will ensure its ineffectiveness for as long as they are allowed to remain in its midst.
In one of the most frequently quoted but deliberately mischaracterized political statements of all time, Ronald Reagan proffered the concept of the Republican Party as a “Big Tent.” By this he intended to encourage those of varying ideologies to put aside their differences and follow his leadership in achieving a greater America. And after eight years of a booming national economy, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the retreat of worldwide communism, few could honestly argue with his track record of success.
Sadly, by 1996, his view of the party had been completely undermined and mutated into a pathetic caricature of its former potential. In a futile attempt to “broaden the base,” Senator Bob Dole (the Republican candidate running against incumbent Bill Clinton) invoked his own completely altered “Big Tent,” while claiming Reagan’s mantle to give it legitimacy. In Dole’s version, the goal was to stand for as little as possible, thereby making a more welcoming place for those with disparate viewpoints. But while Reagan’s “Big Tent” was built on courage, principle, and leadership, Dole’s was contrived from an effort to pander and follow. Historically, undecided voters have been far more inspired by the former, and disenfranchised by the latter.
The consequences of such misbegotten thinking were painfully evident on Wednesday, November 7 1996, as the inept and scandal plagued Bill Clinton easily swept into his second term. Nor has the GOP Establishment learned anything since that dismal day. Despite liberal assurances of Barack Obama’s invincibility and inevitability, throughout both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, tracking polls showed that a conservative opposition could render him extremely vulnerable. Sadly, the moment Obama’s Republican opponents began to receive criticism for their “extremism” from his cheerleaders in the media (a sure sign they were gaining), they would compliantly back down and cede the moral and philosophical high ground to him, at which point their momentum would predictably dissipate.
In contrast, Cruz accepts each attack from the left as an opportunity to reiterate his governing philosophy, a strategy that has significantly propelled him to the forefront of political debate. And to the horror of liberal Democrats who know how fragile their facade of a socialist utopia is when confronted by a bold and articulate conservative, thus far, all of their efforts to relegate him to the status of a pariah have backfired. Instead he continues to gain prominence and esteem in the American Heartland.
His latest engagement with the left could deal a potentially fatal blow to Obamacare by completely defunding it. Considering the piecemeal methods by which the Democrats have continued to spend trillions of dollars and bloat the government since April of 2009, while avoiding the accountability of having a real budget, it ought to be obvious to the GOP that the stage is set for a direct confrontation between extra-constitutional leftists and traditional America. Sadly, such an encounter would require political “spine,” a commodity that is appallingly scarce among Beltway Republicans. Instead, per their customary methods they find it easier to attack Cruz than to stand up to the out-of-control Democrat Party.
Notable Republicans and “conservative” pundits have gone to great lengths to assure America that Cruz’s plan could never work, and would ultimately prove disastrous to the GOP (an ironic assessment which presumes that their typical actions have ever enjoyed a track record of success). To support this notion, they regularly hearken back to the 1995 Budget Battle, in which Bill Clinton shut down the government rather than sign on to a Republican budget that he considered “Draconian.” Accepting the Democrat revision of history in its entirety, Republicans insist that the shutdown yielded disastrous losses for the GOP, possibly including the presidential election of the following year.
As usual, the facts simply do not support this contention. A rarely mentioned fact is that, just prior to the government restarting (the “shutdown” was itself drastically overblown), it was Bill Clinton whom the public held responsible for the impasse. Fortunately for Clinton, “Republican” Senate Leader Bob Dole rode to his rescue, completely caving by signing on to a stopgap “continuing resolution,” with his famous pronouncement of “Enough is enough!” At that point, with Dole essentially exonerating Clinton and accepting blame for the rancorous standoff, public scorn shifted to him and his party.
So although Dole and his successors steadfastly maintain that the government shutdown damaged them politically, it was in fact the government restart that cost them credibility with the voters. Nevertheless, this myth has remained at the forefront of GOP politicking ever since. According to those learned party insiders, the only manner in which to deal with the Democrats on such controversial issues is to constantly surrender to them. Thus has the GOP, despite occasional majority status and even when holding the White House, allowed the liberal agenda to advance with little or no resistance.
It is perhaps for this reason more than any other that the Republican “Old Guard” detests Ted Cruz more stridently than any member of the Democrat opposition. Contrary to their efforts to continue “business as usual” as an ineffective minority party, Cruz insists that they employ the means available to them in order to truly contest the liberal onslaught. Such a course would deem them at least partially responsible for the governing actions that ensue, and this is a possibility that they truly abhor. In their self-serving world, it is better to allow the establishment of a socialist state, and the eradication of constitutional principle, than to be the targets of criticism for upsetting the apple cart.
If Ted Cruz accomplishes anything other than actually defunding Obamacare, it will be to enlighten Americans as to where the real battle against liberalism needs to be fought and won, which is deep within a Republican Party that is far too comfortable having abandoned its political soul.
Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, as has written for regional and national magazines. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.