With the March 3 House Republican surrender on funding for Obama’s executive amnesty program, many conservatives are asking, “Why stay in the Republican Party?”
It’s a good question, and one that has no easy or convincing answer at the moment, given that a big segment of the Republican leadership has declared open warfare on the tea party and grassroots activists. When told by Republican Party leaders, “You’re a fringe, and we don’t need you, so go away!” the logical reply is, OK, we’ll leave.
But there is another way to look at the problem and another way to think about solutions. Before jumping ship and starting a new political party, which is a herculean task in the best of circumstances, conservatives should soberly examine other alternatives.
In that spirit of reconciliation and helpfulness, I am proposing a national contest open to Republican leaders who are urging conservatives to not jump ship. This is the contest:
“Name three things the Republican Party should do to attract and hold the loyalty of constitutional conservatives and avoid a third-party movement in 2016.”
We will invite members of Congress, the Republican National Committee, beltway pundits and, of course, Karl Rove and John McCain to enter the contest. Granted, it will be hard for many of them to change gears and think of positive changes to attract conservatives instead of indulging their usual habit of suggesting policies and gestures that drive conservatives away.
But let’s think positive and give these heavy hitters one last shot at survival.
To stimulate the strategic thinking of this class of proud pragmatists, let’s throw out a few preliminary ideas that might conceivably bear fruit if the party leadership really wanted to change course. If they really wanted to turn away from the headlong drive over the cliff and into the dustbin of history, how would they signal that change of direction?
Just off the top of my head, there are a few things the Republican Party can do. The pundits will call these ideas radical, but so what? Maybe they will stimulate innovative thinking in the right ballpark.
Speaker Boehner could resign and not endorse anyone as a successor, as his endorsement would signal not a new direction, only a new face on the old mantra.
Senate Republican leadership could announce that for every time Senate Democrats filibuster a bill or an amendment to a bill to prevent it from coming to a majority vote, Republicans will place a hold on 10 Obama appointments to judgeships and executive agencies. That stops short of the “nuclear option,” abolishing the filibuster entirely, but it sends a message.
Senate Republicans can recommit back to committee and not bring to a floor vote Obama’s nominee to replace Attorney General Eric Holder.
Or, Senate Republicans could issue a subpoena to Hillary Clinton to appear before a committee to share all of her private emails, starting with the month of September 2012, with only the committee’s legal counsel and Harvard Law School graduate Laura Ingraham authorized to jointly examine all of her emails and “redact” the ones that are truly personal and not related to government business.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus could announce that the RNC – in partnership with Heritage Action and the Club for Growth – will develop and publish by no later than Constitution Day, Sept. 16, 2015, constitutional accountability ratings for each of the 235 Republican congressmen and the 55 Republican senators, informing Americans how faithfully their votes on legislation have adhered to the 2012 Republican Party platform.
The RNC then could adopt a new policy by majority vote and announce that no incumbent Republican with a rating of less than 67 percent on that constitutional accountability scorecard will be eligible for any RNC funding for re-election.
Now, we are under no illusion that the Republican leadership will do any of these things, but maybe these “radical” ideas can stimulate some creative thinking.
Obviously, for Republican leaders to move in this direction requires first that they see a need to change direction. The real problem is that there is little evidence that Boehner, McConnell, Rove, et all, care one whit about what patriots and constitutional conservatives do in 2016.
But who knows? Politics is full of surprises, so let’s pray for a big one.
Tom Tancredo is the founder of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and founder and co-chairman of Team America PAC. He 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, and he can be heard every Monday on Grassroots Radio Colorado with Kris Cook (KLZ 560 AM).