The Right Resistance: Moderation in pursuit of political expediency is no virtue in today’s GOP
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” -- Barry Goldwater, 1964
Perhaps it’s odd that we should be talking so much about “moderation” lately, because not everyone in the political universe believes being “moderate” is a beneficial philosophy. Most people agree that living life in “moderation” is a good thing, meaning not overeating, drinking (alcohol) to excess and exercising only to the limits of one’s tolerance without extreme pain, but when it comes to picking leaders, choosing someone from the so-called center lane often results in everyone accepting a moldy half a loaf and being forced to eat it.
The recent “moderation” conversations have centered on Democrats, chiefly Senators Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), both of whom have defied the radical fringe of their party -- which basically constitutes everyone else -- on the details of huge spending packages, and, of course, whether the filibuster tradition should be preserved in the upper chamber.
Republicans have hailed Manchin and Sinema as semi-heroic for their “principled” willingness to stand apart from their colleagues, earning them praise from the center-right portion of America and heated scorn from the “progressive” left. We’ve all seen the images of leftist interest group goons harassing each of them in public, engendering compassion from many who wouldn’t normally sympathize with Democrats.
Largely forgotten these days is conservatives’ frequent struggles with self-identified “moderates” in their own party. When Republicans hold congressional majorities, this collection of mushy opportunists receive a lot more attention -- and from the media, adoration. The late John McCain was described as a “maverick” for his insistence on “bipartisan cooperation” and “working together for normal process”.
“Moderates” aren’t considered popular as they are powerful. The GOP is struggling with them too. Cristina Marcos reported at The Hill:
“The 13 House Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill are being taunted as traitors and threatened with primary challenges from far-right lawmakers for breaking party lines to help give President Biden a long-sought legislative victory...
“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has not … publicly criticized the GOP members who voted for the infrastructure bill, which was also backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 18 other Senate Republicans...
“Several of the 13 Republicans represent competitive districts and have gambled that taking credit for helping enact new infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and broadband networks will pay off with their constituents. But in the meantime, they’re facing intense backlash from the right for daring to break party lines in a way that also boosts Biden — whom a significant number of GOP voters don’t believe was legitimately elected due to former President Trump’s false claims about the election.”
There they go again. The establishment media can’t acknowledge anything in their reports that smells of election fraud, so they wholesale dismiss Trump’s claims as “false”. I’m getting tired of it. Do the talkers and journos ever write, “Joe Biden’s false claims about an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan”, or “Kamala Harris’s false statements about the border immigration crisis,” or “Barack Obama’s false claims that time is running out to do something about climate change”?
Talk about false. Take any Nancy Pelosi or Chucky Schumer or Adam Schiff or [insert random Democrat’s name here] speech and just save yourself time by labeling it as hyperbole and fiction.
This hypocrisy is why conservatives and most Republicans were so up in arms about the phony infrastructure bill that just passed. At the outset, it should be said few otherwise reasonable people oppose improvements in infrastructure. Donald Trump made sprucing up the nation’s roadways and airports a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, because Americans favor it. But being against the bloated so-called “bipartisan” bill doesn’t make one hostile to making things highways and intersections better.
The bill was loaded down with pork and slush and favoritism for special interests. That’s why sane Republicans in both houses opposed it. As would be expected from legislation written primarily by Democrats, there are set-asides based on race in the text. This basically means racism is baked into the new law. Would Martin Luther King Jr. approve?
Voting against the bill was a matter of common sense and sound judgment, not obstructionism. For one thing, it was entirely too large. While the bill was not quite as thick and all-encompassing as the Democrats’ ridiculous “Build Back Better” horror, it still must have contained a lot of language that nobody read. This means it will be a gigantic pain to administer the expenses and applications requirements -- and we haven’t even gotten to the lawsuits it will provoke.
Let’s not forget that there’s no such thing as “shovel ready” where federal projects are at issue. Little if any of that money will be spent to shore up the current economy. And just imagine the waste… it’s heartbreaking.
Infrastructure is great, but Republicans should’ve done as Donald Trump suggested, waited until there were sufficiently large GOP majorities to tackle the issue with much more control of the content. And what would be wrong with dividing the subject into smaller pieces and actually going over the ideas bit by bit in committee so legislators and the American people understand what’s in it?
“Regular order” is so yesterday with today’s establishment political class which can’t even work on appropriations bills much less manage a trillion-dollar-plus single bill with only 11 percent dedicated to traditional infrastructure. The GOP “moderates” who voted for the proposal essentially abdicated their legislative responsibility for purely political reasons, fearing that if they came out against it, they would look bad to the folks in their “swing” districts who expect lawmakers to be “moderate” and “bipartisan” and, for a lack of better way to put it, “weak”.
Most if not all of them deserve primary challenges now. And, if Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had any guts, he’d remove the perpetrators from their committee assignments in addition, just as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene so gently (not!) recommended last week. McCarthy missed a major opportunity to impress grassroots conservatives over the “infrastructure” fiasco, and it’s doubtful that his indecision and silence will be forgotten or forgiven when it’s time to elect a Speaker after Republicans sweep the Democrats out of power next November.
We can only hope there will be a sufficient number of true conservatives elected to make someone like Jim Jordan the new Speaker. Then we’d get results!
And it goes without saying that passing the bloated infrastructure bill streamlines the process for Democrat leaders to push through Biden’s “Build Back Better” welfare proposals. The way it looks now, only Joe Manchin stands in the way of complete passage with fifty votes (through reconciliation) and senile Joe’s gal pal veep Kamala Harris’s tie breaking vote. She has to be good for something, doesn’t she?
It’s highly doubtful Biden will enjoy a popularity boost from the infrastructure vote, so political considerations are relatively minor here. Most conservatives and Republicans bailed on the bill because it was bad legislation, pure and simple.
“Moderation” doesn’t work in politics and it certainly makes the Republican Party look feeble to help Nancy Pelosi, Chucky Schumer and their henchmen realize their schemes. If conservatives can’t trust the Republican leaders to do things the right way, then it weakens all of their candidates. It’s a lesson the wayward thirteen should’ve learned after Virginia and New Jersey two weeks ago.
Democrats aren’t “moderates” either. They’re pushing an extreme agenda that must be defeated, not just opposed. Stopping bad legislation is arguably more important than passing good bills, especially when your party is in the minority.
Leftists can’t be trusted, and there’s no “justice” in “moderation”, either. They favor leniency and softness for true criminals but advocate for putting patriots like the January 6 peaceful protestors (not the violent ones, mind you) and Kyle Rittenhouse in jail. The prisons are no longer for embezzlers, murderers, rapists, robbers, muggers and drug dealers, it's for people who use firearms in self-defense or “tourists” who walk through the Capitol building armed only with MAGA hats and American flags.
As Goldwater advised all those years ago, if you’re going to go to extremes, do it in the direction of liberty. Everything the Democrats do tramples on the Constitution and the notion of freedom of choice and conscience. Federal vaccine mandates will soon be in place -- and if you don’t have a choice over your own healthcare, where will it end?
Conservatives and Republicans have every reason to be infuriated with the 13 House Republican turncoats -- and the 18 senate RINOs -- and to demand they receive some just punishment for betraying the party and the cause of liberty. Sound fiscal management is not too much to ask. GOP “leaders” are playing into another Donald Trump candidacy. Do they know it?
Joe Biden economy
Democrat welfare bill
Build Back Better
13 House Republicans Infrastructure bill
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election