Then it happens. One taste of the waters of forgetfulness on Capitol Hill and suddenly their goal is something called "incumbency," and their allegiance is to the powers that be -- "the leadership." It hardly matters which party's.
After the earthquake election of 2014, in the wake of a historic mandate against the Obama agenda -- from "executive amnesty" for millions of illegal aliens to Obamacare -- it seems as if the Republican leadership in Washington isn't even waiting for the usual inside-the-Beltway conversions to take place.
They are thinking, it seems, "What if this new class of freshmen members is more Constitution-minded than before? What if they won't support us Republican custodians of status quo government who are practically indistinguishable on the issues from Democratic custodians of expanding government? What if the 114th Congress means business -- the people's business?"
The question puts the fear of powerlessness into Beltway elites. And so, as American polls closed, Beltway elites closed ranks. It was clear there was no appetite on high for the red-meat message of Obama-rejection that the electorate sent. Indeed, House Speaker John Boehner reacted to this stupendous Republican victory as "not a time for celebration." He expressed hope for "bipartisan steps," and working with President Obama. It's hard to imagine how his statement would have differed had he been responding to GOP losses instead of gains.
It's also hard to imagine he will heed the demand from the American voter that elected officials reverse course from Obama's socialistic agenda before it's too late, and probably literally so. If, even after this "Republican wave," Obama is permitted to enact an executive order for "amnesty," turning millions of illegal aliens into legal Democrats, this could well have been the Republicans' last national hurrah -- and the republic's.
Boehner and the rest of the Big Republicans just don't seem to care. Indeed, the post-election op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that Boehner co-authored with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell failed even to mention Obama's looming amnesty action, let alone the dire need for Congress to use its constitutional powers of the purse to stop it. At a minimum, these two Republican leaders should have signaled that in this upcoming "lame duck" session, Republicans wouldn't pass an omnibus spending bill that could be used to fund amnesty, and that they would instead pass a continuing resolution only to keep the government open until the new Congress is seated in January.
Republicans can and should pass a bill to defund "any agency of government that refuses to implement federal immigration law or that facilitates such refusal," as Ben Shapiro writes at Breitbart News. If the executive branch enacts amnesty, Congress must choose not to fund it. That's power.
Leave it to Big Republicans, though, to give it all up without a fight. After an election that was in large part a referendum on Obama's promised amnesty power grab, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that in spite of the midterm results, "serious immigration reform" (i.e., de facto amnesty legislation) was still on the table.
Whose table? Beltway types -- not Republican voters. The same goes for the bizarre search for Republican-Democrat "common ground" that Boehner, McConnell, Ari Fleischer, Michael Steele and others threw themselves on in reaction to what is well described as a "Republican wave." Of course, outgoing (yippee!) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on board with that. "The message from voters is clear," he said "They want us to work together."
That's a hoot. But it's likely to happen, given the goings on in that sausage factory atop Capitol Hill. That's where newly elected Republicans are headed to vote for their speaker, this month in their Republican Party conference, and, later, after the new Congress begins, in the full House.
According to "multiple GOP sources," the National Journal reports, a new Republican proposal circulating in the House sets forth that "any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference's nominee for House speaker -- that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during the closed-door leadership elections in November -- would be severely punished. Specially, sources say, any dissenters would be "stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress."
"Severely punished"? "Dissenters" will be "stripped"? This sounds less like a U.S. Congress than an old Soviet Politburo with a hint of gulag. Which means the fight isn't over. Victory at the polls can and will be stolen unless you tell your new Republican representative two things to get off to a good term: Stop amnesty and the GOP establishment both.