Liddick: Republicans must first deal with our Tweedledums (column)
January 18, 2016
The rustling sound on Friday last was the Republican establishment bestirring itself to thwart the progress of their two worst nightmares: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Soon, the wagons will circle around the Chosen One of the leadership clique, and the nomination process will stall. There are conclusions to be drawn here, and they better be drawn soon while there is still a party and Republic to save.
First, Republican notables and the money men behind them hate and fear both the senator and the businessman more than the Democrat nominee — most likely the congenital liar, conniver and enabler Hillary Clinton. The reasons for their odium are simple, stupid, dangerous and illuminating: neither man truckles. Neither can be controlled. Neither has time for party or media elites who consider themselves better, wiser and deserving of more forelock-tugging deference than has been forthcoming.
Both give voice to powerful currents within the party and beyond, voices these elites hold in contempt or, at most, consider ballot fodder: rubes to be goaded into action on Election Day, then neglected for the following 103 weeks. Both consider the national interest paramount. And in the case of Senator Cruz, there's the wicked practice of doing in Washington what he promised his Texas constituents he would. To the "Washington cabal," using the Senator's term, both men are heretics; they and their followers must be eliminated.
As in the past, South Carolina is the chosen venue. The opening salvo was Gov. Nikki Haley's response to the president's last State of the Union speech. Haley, a rapidly-rising star favored by party leaders, reserved some of her harshest rhetoric not for the president's missive from the Delusional States of America, but rather for her colleagues who "think they have to be the loudest voice in the room" and for those who were "tempted to follow the siren call of the angriest voices." She later identified those voices as belonging to the Republican frontrunners.
Close attention to the background noise at the subsequent Thursday debate would have detected rumblings from an audience well-salted with party operatives, bussed in to make certain things tilted properly.
It didn't work.
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Instead, Donald Trump made political hay by owning Haley's swipe. "I'm very angry because this country is being run horribly … " he said, among a litany of examples. "I'm angry because our country is a mess."
Memo to Sen. Cruz's "cabal": a majority of Americans — Right, Left and Center — agree. And they see you as part of the problem, not the solution.
Which is why the four-part dust-up among Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie is probably a sideshow for this cycle. Yes, the winner will be advantaged, but this is a different year. What is at stake is not only the presidency, but, in all likelihood, the future of the Republican party. And many know it.
There is now an opportunity to make Republican philosophy — individual responsibility; small, limited government; honesty, fair dealing and directness; opportunity; economic growth; national sovereignty and patriotism; a suspicion of cronyism and favor-selling — predominant. These are values that should appeal to all, on every point of the political spectrum.
Properly explained, most Americans would embrace them as they once did, knowing instinctively that, in the long run and short, they are preferable to the Santa Claus socialism of Bernie Sanders, who promises everyone their heart's desire, paid for by anyone else. Or the crony capitalism of Hillary Clinton, who advances the interests of anyone, foreign or domestic, who will grease her palm sufficiently.
But to bring about a renaissance, Republicans must first deal with our Tweedledums to the Democrats' Tweeledees: Those who consider federal political office a sinecure without responsibility to constituents or nation. Who have more in common with those across the Congressional aisle than with those who elected them. Who consider it advisable to ignore our Constitution when following it might endanger their political careers or those of their friends. We all know their names.
It is they who are beginning to circle the wagons, looking for a nominee to protect their jobs, their perquisites and their cozy, insulated lives. But they are acting against history.
At its beginning, the Republican party dared to defy seemingly-invincible interests, waging and winning a war against those who advocated slavery and committed treason to preserve it. Republicans stood for the common man against moneyed interests, trusts and monopolies. They stood against the tyranny and aggression of an ascendant Soviet Union and, fifty years later, wrestled it to the ground.
That is the muscular, principled, fearless party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan; and, for the good of the Republic and its citizens, it's long past time we had it back.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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