What – or who -- is going to change the dynamic?
It’s safe to say many conservatives, myself included, have been more than a little depressed lately. It is indeed dark outside, and not just because it’s the time of year when daylight wanes and it’s hard to plan any outdoor activity unless you’re resigned to do it in half-gloom or total darkness. The twinkling lights of the Christmas season help some, but not even the beauty of the displays remove the unmistakable sinking feeling from our political world.
No one I know expected Herschel Walker to win in Georgia the other night, which is sad considering the University of Georgia legend was an attractive outsider candidate who happens to be African-American. Theoretically speaking, Walker should’ve appealed to at least a small percentage of the identity politics obsessed Democrat crowd, you know, the ones claiming to value “diversity” and other “woke” wishy washy concepts that establishment media liberals dwell on all the time.
But apparently being “inclusive” must not extend to one’s political leanings. If Walker were a Democrat and spouted the same standard liberal gobbledygook – like a number of athletes, such as Colin Kaepernick, do – then he would have been billed by the beautiful people as brilliant and more enlightened than even John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.
I’m aware that re-elected Democrat senator Raphael Warnock is also “diverse”, but if conservatives and Republicans were truly making inroads into the minority voter communities as many of us were led to believe, Walker’s candidacy should’ve been the greenlight for conservative blacks and other Democrat-leaning minorities to move away from the Democrat party in significant numbers.
But it didn’t work out that way. Those of us who went to bed well before the result was called figured Warnock would end up the winner because the notoriously slow (and fraudulent?) counting Atlanta surrounding counties hadn’t yet reported all of their results. And tightly packed urban areas are where the Democrat vote generating machine operates at peak efficiency. To these people, it apparently didn’t matter that everything is so expensive these days and Democrat policies are to blame for Bidenflation and massive shortages.
To the low-information genre, it’s grab your ballot, mark your “D” and move on, even when there’s an appealing outsider like Herschel Walker providing a real choice in the contest. It’s harder still to believe that two years ago this time the Peach State had two Republican senators who looked destined for reelection. Now there’re two Democrat upper chamber cogs for at least four more years.
There’s only so much value to be garnered from griping about what was and what could have been; the question now is, how to change this frustrating dynamic? Rush Limbaugh isn’t around any longer to put a smiling, happy, optimistic face (and voice) on the current malaise. A big part of our problem is the lack of promising leadership in key places of the Republican Party.
Sure, Republicans recaptured the House a month ago and the “Stupid Party” is still only one seat short of equity in the senate even with Walker’s loss – two if you count brainless Kamala Harris supplying tie-breaking votes. GOP voters provided Republican candidates with a solid majority of ballots cast in these elections and 2024 looks better in some ways… but what to do now?
Republicans are even squabbling over who should be the new House Speaker. In a collaborative piece titled “McCarthy starts to play hardball with GOP rebels struggling to find opposing House speaker candidate”, Susan Ferrechio, Kerry Picket and Mica Soellner reported at The Washington Times:
“The opposition to Mr. McCarthy’s ascent to speaker is driven by a group of five Republican lawmakers. Despite the absence of a viable alternative, they are determined to use their leverage in a bare Republican majority to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Mr. McCarthy to win the 218 votes needed to secure the speaker’s gavel on the opening day of the 118th Congress…
“Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, is leading the effort to depose Mr. McCarthy… Mr. Biggs, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, told The Times that Republicans need ‘a change agent.’ He is throwing his name into the mix as a candidate for speaker when Congress convenes on Jan. 3 despite losing overwhelmingly to Mr. McCarthy in a closed-door vote last month.
“’Kevin doesn’t have the votes,’ Mr. Biggs said in an interview. ‘I know he doesn’t have the votes. I know he knows he doesn’t have the votes. The reality is the pressure is on Kevin. It’s not on me.’”
McCarthy doesn’t have the votes, and yes, he probably knows it. But Kevin also understands there’s no one else even close in the count, and there’s a risk that if the holdouts won’t budge when the time comes that someone much less appealing could squeak through if they make a deal with the devil (a.k.a. Democrats).
At the outset, I concede that I am no Kevin McCarthy fan. Put it this way, the central California native doesn’t exactly wear “Natural born leader” emblazoned onto his forehead. McCarthy was never the bomb-thrower type that Republicans so desperately need to wake from their catatonic slumber and start hurtling as much invective back at Democrats as the liberals send our way.
Likewise, Kevin’s no Nancy Pelosi. He’s also no Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert. Or Donald Trump.
He’s no Newt Gingrich, either. When conservatives across the country were virtually begging the House GOP leaders to introduce another “Contract with America” with tons of specifics to offer the voters this year, McCarthy and company instead produced a watered-down half-effort promising this and that but not anything that people got truly amped up about.
Many voters who did come out for Republican candidates in 2022 did so because of the Democrats’ awful performance in Congress and under senile Joe Biden’s lie-strewn agenda -- and with a forlorn hope that giving the GOP another chance in the majority might reverse this country’s accelerated downward slide.
With McCarthy out front leading the troops, is any of this going to happen?
I’m skeptical, but I’m also pragmatic and a realist. The House Republican naysayers – all good and principled members of the vaunted Freedom Caucus – simply don’t have the numbers to put in place a new Speaker who is one-hundred percent acceptable to proponents of limited government, traditional cultural values and all things strictly by a libertarian view of constitutional power.
To the extent that Democrats are linked together by ethnic coalitions, unions, environmental green “climate change” kooks, limousine do-gooder liberals and the “I’ll do anything you want me to do if your check is big enough” Joe Biden-types, Republicans don’t boast such strong glue so that principles govern them at every turn. I’ve said it before, most conservatives are Republicans but not all Republicans are conservatives.
Unlike with Democrats, the lack of ideological grounding in Republican-land makes it very hard, if not impossible, to string together enough true believers to overthrow the party establishment. It’s not that we shouldn’t try, or condemn those who do try (like the five no-on-McCarthy holdouts), but, at the end of the day, we have to produce meaningful – and beneficial – results.
Conservatives can still get a lot accomplished, but it involves assembling a governing coalition under someone the “moderate” malcontents find acceptable. I believe that Jim Jordan and some other staunch conservatives have come to this realization and are prepared to work with McCarthy to sell conservative ideas. These are the House members we’ll have to trust with carrying on the good fight, rather than potentially sabotaging the entire operation and letting Democrats be part of this decision-making process.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump appears to like McCarthy too, even if the former president’s say so doesn’t carry nearly the weight it did earlier this year. Trump favors loyalists, not ideological boat-rocking warriors. It’s a flaw that won’t help him win over conservatives again in 2024.
No matter how dark or bleak the political landscape looks, it’s never time to toss in the proverbial towel and resort to apathy or simply concentrate on other, more satisfying pursuits. Conservatives and Republicans must assess what went wrong this year – and who was to blame – but there’s time to get things righted and reverse the feeling going into 2024. Who will lead the effort?
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election