Republicans are rightfully celebrating their recent successes in the midterm elections, recapturing the House and making major gains in the Senate. But before House GOP leader John Boehner starts measuring the curtains for the speaker’s office, he and his fellow Republicans would do well to remember the old proverb popularized by legendary University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal: “Dance with the one who brung you.”
In this case, that means: Don’t forget who put you in office and why — namely, the independent-minded Tea Party voters.
Hence, the Republicans should take to heart three key lessons:
1) Americans don’t want “ObamaLite”
The 2010 vote was a powerful message from Americans rejecting the socialist policies of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid — including the bailouts, the out-of-control federal spending, the higher taxes, and the nationalized health care scheme.
Voters elected Republicans to halt and reverse these policies — not compromise to pass watered-down versions of those same bad ideas.
Some Republicans like Congressman Mike Pence appear to understand this:
[T]here will be no compromise on stopping runaway spending, deficits and debt. There will be no compromise on repealing ObamaCare. There will be no compromise on stopping Democrats from growing government and raising taxes.
In contrast, others like Congressman Darrell Issa appear willing to compromise:
It’s pretty clear the American people expect us to use the existing gridlock to create compromise and advance their agenda. … They want us to come together [with the administration] after we agree to disagree.
Whichever philosophy takes hold amongst the Republicans will determine whether they succeed — or fail.
Americans don’t expect the impossible from the GOP. We understand that Obama still wields the presidential veto. But we do expect the Republicans to fight as hard as they can for principles of free markets, fiscal responsibility, and limited government.
For example, with respect to ObamaCare, we understand that the Republicans may not have enough votes to immediately repeal it. But a GOP-controlled Congress can “defund” it (i.e., not allocate money to implement the program) until they gain a sufficient majority in 2012 to fully repeal it.