I’m a conservative and have voted and contributed to GOP candidates since the mid-1970s; heck, I even voted for Hal Suit for governor in 1970.
That said, I’m extremely disappointed in our local Republican congressman, Lynn Westmoreland. Together with other Tea Partiers, he chose to follow a wrong-headed strategy that put this nation at grave economic risk.
The point of it all was to get the current administration to negotiate on Obamacare, which most agree is an abominable, costly, and likely unworkable extension of the government into healthcare. That was a commendable goal, but clearly it was an unrealistic one.
Like it or not, Republicans are a minority party in the Senate. Threats, shutdowns, etc., don’t work when you don’t have the votes.
Now, I’m not a Washington insider, but Mr. Westmoreland is, and I believe that he, and his Tea Party brethren, probably knew of their weakness going in.
Yet, they moved forward with their strategy. Okay, we’ve had government shutdowns before; a few days of it, point is made, settle up, and move on, letting Obamacare self-destruct, as it is now currently doing.
But no, Mr. Westmoreland and the Tea Party pushed harder. Despite their complete lack of leverage (see the end result) they held this nation hostage and threatened the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression if they didn’t get their way.
Ultimately Mr. Westmoreland cast a vote not to simply continue a government shutdown. He cast a “nay” vote that also meant that the U.S. would default on its obligations.
While I’ve heard the arguments that no, we would not default, the perceptive reality in the world’s financial markets was nothing but default.
So, here’s the bottom line: I am sick and tired of Tea Party supporters adopting an attitude of “our way or be damned.” While I support many of their principles, enacting those principles requires one important element — a majority. When we don’t have it, we negotiate.
By virtue of the 2012 election results, it is proven fact that the Tea Party does not have the political strength to elect a president. Nor can it elect majorities in the House and Senate.
If they could, one would assume that Mr. Obama (the worst president of the past 100 years) would have been voted out of office.
Given these circumstances, isn’t it time for conservatives to point our energies at becoming a majority party again? Isn’t it time to be realistic in our goals so that we can stem the tide of socialistic government?
Doing so means that conservatives — moderates included — quit stepping on their own feet with useless, pointless government shutdowns and threats of default that do nothing but hurt the cause of conservatism.
Political candidates, including Ronald Reagan, are typically elected because of what they are for, rather than what they are against. Successful leaders offer fresh ideas, as Mr. Reagan did, and communicate the benefits of those ideas.
The recent votes and actions of Mr. Westmoreland, and the whining Tea Partiers who took this nation down a very dangerous road, have nothing in common with great leaders.
Mr. Reagan and his good friend, Democrat and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, with whom he spoke often, would be aghast that a group of Americans tried to advance their own positions by holding this nation hostage at the risk of great economic peril.
Going forward, let’s hope that Mr. Westmoreland can offer fresh ideas that lead to a majority in Congress, rather than blindly following the lead of those who would allow harm to our nation, all to simply prove a point.