In fact, according to some reports, Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor — behind closed doors — had indeed conceived a mock bill containing unattainable concessions from the administration (destined to fail) and a second bill that would reluctantly cave to the president’s demands.
But, neither of these initiatives ever materialized. Boehner and Cantor were, in effect, shouted down by this band of House mavericks — branded by Democrat operatives and strategists as isolated and radical fringe elements of the tea party.
In reality, these hardline conservatives were elected in 2010 to change the nation’s direction. Their courageous stand and their refusal to throw in the towel — no doubt encouraged by fellow hardline conservatives Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul in the Senate — earned them a great deal of respect from a broad base of Republican voters.
To counter this, the Democrats released their own skewed polls showing the GOP was to blame for this government “slowdown,” not the democrats or Obama. One such poll put the president’s approval rating at 47 percent positive, compared to a more reliable poll placing him at 37 percent.
Now, Democrats are pushing a full-court press to demonize this band of 50-plus House representatives and Sens. Cruz, Lee and Paul. But, anyone who characterizes this gritty bunch as out-of-touch or radical fails to understand the anger and frustrations of the American people.
Some may say the resultant financial slowdown served no practical purpose and little, if anything, was achieved by the GOP. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my mind.
First, the looming threat and early failure of Obamacare was dramatically propelled into the public narrative. It’s a narrative that asks: Should we continue to fight to de-fund such a horrible law or should we just let it die of its own failures and catastrophic over-reach that will destroy more jobs, the economy and medical care as we know it?
In September 2009, Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and, during that speech, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson interrupted the president, yelling out “You lie.” Even though the statement was true, Wilson was formally rebuked by the House, and Republican Sen. John McCain even called for Wilson to apologize to Congress and the president.
These days, it seems that an unnatural transformation takes place when certain candidates are elected to office. They become members of the “brotherhood,” and their allegiance appears to shift from the electorate to their colleagues in their respective chambers. This certainly is true for Republican legislators
But it’s time such GOP moderates and “conservatives in name only,” who seem be eager to please their comrades and play nice, start looking over their shoulder.
The likes of John McCain, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Lindsay Graham, Johnny Isakson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Cristie — once considered mainstays of the Republican Party — should do what Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss did recently.
He, of the highly applauded “Gang of Eight” who brought us sequestration, read the tea leaves and decided to retire and make way for a new wave of mavericks who will re-establish contact with voters, false chivalry and protocol be damned. As I see it, that so-called lunatic fringe called the tea party that’s so often blamed for many of the country’s ills will demonstrate in 2014 that it is, indeed, mainstream America.
Contrary to popular Democratic opinion, there’s no fight going on in the GOP — it’s just your ordinary revolution.
Terrell Jenkins attended Marietta High School and is a retired speechwriter for IBM.