In a panel discussion at the University of Colorado after the recent Republican debate, I was asked by a student why she should be a Republican. The question forced me to ask myself the same thing.
I gave the young woman the standard talking points–that Republicans believe in smaller government, individual rights, fiscal responsibility, and free enterprise. But as I drove home, her question–and my inability to respond with any level of real conviction–got me thinking: Does the Republican Party leadership fight for these values and principles today?
After much thought, I reluctantly concluded that the answer is “no.” The proudly socialist Democrats are full of passionate intensity, while the Republican leadership is full of pathetic excuses. After this week’s House GOP “budget deal,” which betrays nearly every promise made to grassroots conservatives since 2010, I have decided it is time to end my affiliation with the Republican Party.
This decision has been incubating over the past 17 years, years of watching the downward spiral of the Party of Lincoln and Reagan into the Party of Democrat Lite.
- As a Member of Congress for ten years (1998-2008), I was subjected to threats and pressures from the Congressional Leadership and President George W. Bush to support the creation of an expensive Medicare prescription drug program–even though creating a new government spending program financed by massive debt flies in the face of the Republican Party’s core principles.
- Our most powerful and influential “leaders” were shoving this down our throats in a crass political effort to use taxpayer money to buy the votes of senior citizens–particularly in the state of Florida in the next presidential election.
- I was incredulous about the fact that the most intense lobbying I had ever seen undertaken by our “leadership” was not an effort to limit government or the dollars it spends; it was to do just the opposite.
- That incident came just months after I was told by President Bush’s top political operative, Karl Rove, “never to darken the door of the White House again” because of my criticism of the administration’s dangerously lax immigration policies in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
When I first arrived in the U.S. House of Representatives, I naively believed that it was primarily the Democrats who were committed to open borders. But I quickly learned the entire Republican establishment also supported a policy of immigration non-enforcement.
I was repeatedly pulled into the office of the then-Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, and threatened with dire consequences if I continued to speak out publicly for common-sense immigration policies and true border security – particularly if I was doing so in the districts of other Republican Members of Congress.
For most of those years after 2000, we had a Republican President and a Republican-controlled Congress, but the conservative agenda was largely ridiculed and abandoned.
Across America, in every state, countless hardworking Americans have taken time away from their families and their jobs to volunteer on political campaigns– knocking on doors, making phone calls and talking to neighbors – all to support the effort to beat back the Obama agenda. In 2010, that grassroots effort resulted in the Republican takeover in the House. In 2014, it resulted in Republicans sweeping to power in the U.S. Senate – and the largest House majority since Herbert Hoover was President.
Yet, despite these historic gains, nothing changed. The GOP neither advanced a conservative agenda nor checked the radical “transformative” agenda of Barack Obama. We got condescending lip service, and nothing more.
- Promises have been broken and principles abandoned, while millions of American families watched their dreams slip further and further out of reach.
- Republican congressional leaders maneuvered to deliver votes to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty order, and more recently, his unprecedented job-killing EPA rules.
- They have voted twice in four years to violate the very modest, bipartisan caps on spending put in place with the laughably-named “Budget Control Act” in 2011 — and now have abandoned the caps completely.
- They have voted to continue funding what is essentially a $500 million macabre earmark for abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
- They have voted to fund Obamacare, and despite promises, have never passed a complete repeal of the PPACA.
- No one has been held accountable for the outrageous IRS and VA scandals.
- And now, as icing on the poisoned cake, House Republicans have elected a Speaker who was not asked to renounce his commitment to open borders and amnesty, policies which will betray the values of 75% of the party and give Democrats a permanent electoral majority within a decade.
Even in foreign policy the Republican Party leadership has deceived those who elected them by engineering passage of the pathetic Corker/Cardin amendment – which greased the skids for President Obama’s flawed Iran deal to clear Congress without having to meet 67 vote threshold for ratification that the constitution requires for binding international treaties. No one will be surprised if they do the same thing with the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Republicans are repeatedly asked to capitulate today in exchange for better options tomorrow.
- After the next election, after we win one more office or a few more seats – then, after that next election conservative reforms will be considered.
- Somehow, that brighter tomorrow never comes.
But times have changed. In 2010, the Republican rank and file stopped drinking the Kool Aid and started demanding accountability. And demanding results. The conservative electorate that elected Republican majorities is tired of capitulation.
The conservative majority in the Republican Party wants leaders who will stand and fight, leaders who will be as passionate about advancing an American agenda as President Obama and the Left are at advancing the global socialist agenda.
- Grassroots Republicans want Republican leaders who are as assertive and consistent in pushing a policy agenda as Senator Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) was when Democrats controlled the Senate. They should use tools like Budget Reconciliation aggressively, adding conditions to spending bills and legislative initiatives that the White House wants.
- That hardball approach is the only way to deal with an imperial President and make good on the many promises that Republican politicians have made to Americans.
Sadly, it has become obvious that the Republican establishment simply has no intention of ever fulfilling promises made in platforms and campaign speeches. To their mind, there are elections, and then there is “governing,” and governing to them means not messing with a gargantuan government on autopilot.
- The Republican establishment does not want to control spending.
- It does not want to secure the borders or enforce immigration laws.
- It does not care about American sovereignty.
- It has no interest in ending the unaccountable and corrupt culture that has become a hallmark of official Washington.
By insulting the grassroots, the GOP leadership has set upon a suicide mission. The problem is that failed leadership is allowing Obama to destroy the Constitution and take the whole country down the drain. Well, count me out.
The Boehner budget deal is the last straw, and enough is enough. I cannot any longer defend this transparently dishonest charade called the Republican Party.
What I will do instead is join the largest political group in the nation, unaffiliated Independents. In Colorado, they outnumber both “major” political parties.
The next day I will begin working my tail off for the next twelve months to organize Independents to help elect Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as President of the United States. Cruz is the only candidate who both understands the left’s agenda and has demonstrated the courage to fight for our liberties, our sovereignty, and the survival of constitutional government.
Tom Tancredo is the founder of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and founder and co-chairman of Team America PAC.
Tom represented Colorado’s sixth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, and he is a former presidential candidate.
He is the author of In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security.