GOP Should Embrace “Party Of ‘No’”
In the ’60s and ’70s when leftist anti-war protesters began calling the police “pigs”, police forces turned the tables and defined the epithet as “Pride, Integrity, Guts” thereby taking ownership of it. The GOP should take ownership of the “Party of ‘No’”.
Why? Because sometimes – in fact, many times – saying “no” to the opposition is not only responsible, it is an absolute necessity. In many cases, given what the ideological opposition attempts to pass into law, it is the job of the minority to say “no”. Bi-partisanship for bi-partisanship’s sake is nonsense. There’s a reason we have competing parties and have a system that grants the minority a form of power. It is so we don’t fall under the oppressive rule of the majority. And that requires the minority at times to say “no”.
“No”, of course, doesn’t mean the minority must oppose everything. But it does mean that it should oppose those issues and policies which are incompatible with its ideology. In the case of the GOP, those issues and policies consist of those which expand government control, spending, taxation and intrusion.
There’s a building narrative, however, which is designed to cast any opposition in a negative light. The President mentioned it in his State of the Union address and reiterated in his speech to the Republican caucus. The essence of the message is “opposition is bad, bi-partisan cooperation is good – so be good and cooperate with us”.
Of course, bi-partisanship only became “good” and something to be sought when the Democratic Senate lost its 60th vote. Until then it wasn’t necessary and the GOP was irrelevant. Republicans couldn’t have stopped anything from passing Congress if they tried. But now, because they can, they’re suddenly cast as the “Party of ‘No’”.
Thomas Friedman gets into the act with a whine about how the world is talking about us now. Apparently, in Davos during the World Economic Forum, he’s hearing people say things he’s never heard previously. They’re using the words “political instability” to describe our situation. Apparently they just don’t understand why a supposedly popular president swept in by a solid majority can’t seem to get what he wants passed into law.
Of course “political instability” is just another way to say “ungovernable”, the new cool term used to describe those who don’t agree with the political majority’s goals. The elites apparently cannot fathom opposition to government expansion, huge spending increases and intrusion to a level never before seen in this country. I can only attribute that to a lack of understanding of America’s foundational beliefs and how resistance to government intrusion and expansion is a veritable part of our DNA.
But because the left’s agenda is now in even more jeopardy with the election of Scott Brown to the Senate, a counterattack against those in opposition is called for. Friedman picks up the President’s meme and runs with it:
It was hard to read President Obama’s eloquent State of the Union address and not feel torn between his vision for the coming years and the awareness that the forces of inertia and special interests blocking him — not to mention the whole Republican Party — make the chances of his implementing that vision highly unlikely. That is the definition of “stuck.” And right now we are stuck.
The sad and frustrating thing is, we are so close to being unstuck. If there were just six or eight Republican senators — a few more Judd Greggs and Lindsey Grahams — ready to meet Obama somewhere in the middle on deficit reduction, energy, health care and banking reform, I believe that in the wake of the Massachusetts wake-up call the president would indeed meet them in that middle ground to forge not just incremental compromises, but substantial ones on these key issues. But so far, the Republicans are having a good year politically by just being the Party of No.
He’s right – the GOP is having a good year being the “Party of ‘No’”, mainly because that’s what the public demands of them. But there’s been no risk to being the “Party of ‘No’” to this point. They could yell “no” to the top of their lungs but had no power to stop anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
And now the left intends to shame them into passing their agenda. Friedman doesn’t mention certain GOP Senators by name without reason. The entire purpose behind this “Party of ‘No’” silliness is to guilt trip a few Republicans into reaching across the aisle on key issues. The idea is to shame them into being bi-partisan when being bi-partisan is actually not in their best interest. Democrats were as much the “Party of No” as the GOP when they held those unassailable majorities for this past year – the party of “no Republicans allowed”.
Hopefully one of the things the GOP talked about at their retreat was why their opposition – saying “no” – is critical to the functioning of this Republic. Majority rule is tyranny, because it runs roughshod over the minority. The founders of this country designed a system of government that protects minority rights. So it is critical that one side – the minority side – assume the mantle of the “Party of ‘No’”, embrace it and work it. That’s how the system should work. And the Republicans should remember that the only time such words and phrases as “political instability” and “ungovernable” seem to find their way into the talking points and the press is when the GOP is saying “no”, and not the Democrats.
It is high time for Congressional Republicans to grow a thick skin and a spine, quit worrying about what Democrats and the media will say about them and embrace the “No”. Sack up, guys. Be proud to be that party. It’s your job, one which is critical to the survival of this nation as the land of the free. And remember, it is a role the Democrats will happily assume, with no apologies, when their time comes – you can count on it.