Wow, what a week it’s been. For me, I started off speaking for the Young America’s Foundation at the University of Alabama, and ended up speaking at the University of California at Santa Barbara. We can talk all day long about the geographical juxtaposition but if you talk to the students they’ll tell you there are few philosophical differences…both campuses are quite liberal progressive.If there’s one thing I try to stress when speaking on these college and university campuses, it’s about leaders having strategic vision. What do I mean? True leadership does not see a decision in the moment, but envisions the second and third order effects into the future. A great example is Union Cavalry Commander General JNL Buford at Gettysburg, who saw the battlefield not as it was unfolding before him with the Army of Northern Virginia closing in…he saw what would occur three days later.
Let me throw a date out there: 2018. It will be here very soon.The real test of a new presidential administration is its first midterm election cycle. There have been some serious faux pas in the past from some administrations who made decisions in the day, and lost the strategic vision. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both believed they had a “mandate” and embarked on legislative agendas that proved otherwise. What they had was an opportunity, and judging by their first midterm election, they blew it. And even for George W. Bush, his last midterm election proved perilous and ushered in a liberal progressive majority for his final two years under the tyranny of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Right now, looking ahead, I see the same Waterloo looming for the current GOP majority in the House and Senate, a death blow to the Trump administration. There was a canary in the coalmine indicator this week, that perhaps many have not given proper attention.
As reported by Fox News, “Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes held off a stronger-than-expected challenge from Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson Tuesday night as the GOP won the first special congressional election since President Trump’s inauguration. The election was held to fill the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a former three-term representative of Kansas’ 4th district. Estes won 53 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Thompson. The Republican’s margin of victory was just over 8,000 votes. By contrast, Pompeo won re-election in November by 31 percentage points and 85,000 votes. In a speech to supporters in Wichita, Thompson vowed that he would run for the seat again in 2018 and argued that the result was evidence that no Republican district is safe. The race had been closely watched nationally for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump voters in a reliably GOP district. Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the 17-county congressional district this past November. The president himself entered the fray Monday with a recorded get-out-the-vote call on Estes’ behalf and tweeted his support on Tuesday morning.”This coming week we have another bell weather test back in my hometown of Atlanta where the 2nd congressional district has a special election to replace the HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price, and guess what…it is also close. What is this telling us? Simple, there’s a massive enthusiasm drop-off in just what, five months for GOP voters. The fact that the margin of victory in the Kansas 4th district race went from 31 percent to 7 percent is telling…perhaps a drop down to 20 percent would have been conceivable, but not single digits.
Now, some might say it has to do with the candidate, but again, I would attribute a 10 percent degradation. Remember, Estes was the state treasurer who’d obviously won a statewide election. Here is the problem: lack of GOP leadership and policy vision and achievements.
And consider, with all that’s happening, our Representatives and Senators are all on a two-week Easter “recess.” Ok, we’ve had a plethora of executive orders but what major legislative achievements have occurred?Back when Bill Clinton lost in his first midterm election, incoming Speaker Newt Gingrich had a definitive “Contract with America,” and it was well marketed and communicated. In other words, the GOP majority was on the same sheet of music. The theme of that symphony was Constitutional Conservatism, and we ended up with balanced budgets, surpluses, and a reduction of government expansion…all with a Democrat president. So now, with both houses on Capitol Hill and the White House, what gives?
The GOP is losing its luster because the base sees them as acting like a lighter version of progressive socialists. After all, what Constitutional Conservatives come up with an idea called a “Border Adjustment Tax?” And sorry, but President Trump is also to blame, as what has happened with these policy shifts on the Export-Import bank, clear crony capitalism, and also wanting to keep interest rates low, artificially manipulating our economy?
We don’t hear anything about that 15 percent corporate business tax. As a matter of fact, I’ve read some ideas floating about it going down to just 25 percent. There was no “repeal” of Obamacare, it was just a tinkering, and we all know insurance premiums would rise. Then again, they just may anyhow since the insurance companies are working on 2018 rates already. And will we have true tax reform that repatriates the capital oversees and has individual rates retroactive to the beginning of the year?Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare act was no different than Obamacare in that it was crafted behind closed doors and sprung on members. However, unlike the mindless lemmings of the collective progressive socialist left, the Freedom Caucus spoke up, regardless of the incessant assaults they faced. And if President Trump wants to know why Estes barely won, well, don’t go picking Twitter fights, publicly, with constitutional conservatives. We even reported here about an ad campaign against GOP conservative members produced by a group aligned with Speaker Ryan. Keep it up fellas, and you’ll get a rude awakening this coming week in Georgia, which will only embolden the liberal progressive left and put your majority at risk in 2018.
The question to be answered by President Trump, Senate Leader McConnell, and Speaker Ryan is…are y’all constitutional conservatives? Are y’all willing principally and philosophically to draw a clear delineation between yourselves and the progressive socialists of the Democrat Party? C’mon guys, even with a Democrat president in Bill Clinton, there was legislative vision, and the American people thrived. Y’all keep screwing this up and come 2018, Ryan, you’ll be handing the gavel to Nancy Pelosi, which we can ill afford. And ol’ Mitch, we certainly don’t want to see Chuckie Schumer’s fake tears and wry smile leading the US Senate…but where there is no vision, the people fail. And President Trump, what is your policy vision, your guidance? You are the leader of the Republican Party…or is that something Jared Kushner will be doing as well?
This is no laughing matter. Yes, I’m glad we dropped a MOAB on ISIS in that treacherous region of Afghanistan. However, what are we doing about that insidious and failed Iranian nuclear agreement? Is that another flip-flop?
Gotta tell ya, that’s why you Mr. President won Kansas’ 4th congressional district with 60 percent, but Estes only won it by 53 percent. And sir, please realize Mike Pompeo actually outperformed you in that district, so you could become the albatross in 2018.
Leaders possess vision, and we certainly don’t need to be talking about just 2020. It will be horrific if there’s a massive loss, starting next week in Atlanta, Georgia, and then in 2018.