What the 2014 midterm election means might depend on where you spend most of your time. If you spend most of your time inside the Beltway, the midterms mean voters want the Republicans to govern. Inside the beltway, the election means voters want gridlock to end, and Republicans should work with Democrats to make Washington work. It’s the syrupy (and catchy) new McDonald’s ad where donkeys hug elephants, and lumberjacks give bouquets to trees.
But to Republicans outside the beltway, the mandate from 2014 is much different, and much simpler. The voters who sent huge GOP majorities to the House and retook the Senate had one central message: stop Obama.
Republicans gained huge majorities in 2014 because patience with Obama has worn thin. Six years of lawlessness, government overreach, and a dangerous foreign policy that may have been designed by the same person who designed the McDonald’s ads have exhausted the patience of Americans outside the beltway.
The question heading into the State of the Union this week is whether the Republican Party listens to the whispers inside the beltway or the loud, clear mandate from the rest of America.
To help the GOP understand the meaning of the 2014 midterms, a guiding policy document has been provided by conservative leaders (myself included), appropriately called the Mandate. The terms of the Mandate are simple, and reflect the views of the voters who put the GOP in leadership:
Stop the President’s promised “Fundamental Transformation” of the country,
End Executive branch overreach.
Restore Constitutional balance of power among the three branches of government.
Bring an end to the perennially unpopular Affordable Care Act.
Stop the President’s Executive Amnesty initiatives.
Hold the Executive branch accountable for its myriad abuses of power and its national security failures both foreign and domestic.
Put the interests of the United States of America first among nations.
These are the issues that resonate with a broad cross section of Americans. Whether or not the Republicans have the fortitude and skill to implement this mandate is the test of this Congress.
For example, the interests of the United States are being challenged all over the world by the threat of Islamic terror and nuclear-armed states. The response of the Obama administration? Cut terrorists free and give Iran more time.
Obama ignores the law to fundamentally transform the nation by allowing millions of illegal aliens to stay in the United States. The response by the GOP remains uncertain.
Obamacare is harming Americans and intruding on constitutional rights. Will Republicans “fix” parts, thus ensuring permanence to the disaster, or will Republicans lay the rhetorical and legislative groundwork for full repeal?
Regarding executive abuse of power, will the investigative committee press for answers on the most egregious abuses of power by the administration, or will it redirect its energies into learning why the government pays too much for paperclips, or producing “committee reports” sure to be read by many many dozens of people outside the Beltway?
The next two years will say a great deal about the Republican Party. Does the GOP understand Obama’s march through the institutions and the fundamental transformation he has undertaken? Does it have the understanding to stop and reverse it? Or has the GOP ceased being the party of Reagan, becoming content simply to govern rather than advance the cause of liberty? The answer to that question is easy to figure out, depending on how the Republican Party uses the mandate they received just two months ago.