Following every election candidates, both winning and losing, make statements about being united as Americans. They say that it is now time to unite as one for the common good.
In past elections, even when Republicans won, it appeared that they were more concerned about the appearance of “unity” than the principles on which they ran to get elected. There is a dangerous deception in the calls for unity. Most often those calls are from the media and Democrats. They are loudest when Republicans win.
In 2014 Republicans took control of both houses of the legislative branch. Within hours of the stunning wins across the nation, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced that Republicans would not “shut down the government.” In other words, if the President threatened a veto of a spending bill, the Republicans would take necessary action to pass a bill that the President would be willing to sign.
There is a certain degree of pragmatism that every politician must exercise. There is room for compromise when one gives up something in order to get something else. The one holding more leverage will give up less and get more than the one with less leverage.
With veto power and enough Senators to sustain a veto, Obama had more leverage than the Republicans in the House and Senate. Americans who elected Republicans understood that. What they did not understand and what angered them was to throw away what remaining leverage that Republicans had before negotiations even started.
Tom Aldridge, a small business owner in Albany, Georgia, wrote me shortly after the 2014 election. He summed up the feelings that have been repeated time and time again across the nation:
Don’t talk about what we cannot do but do what has been talked about. Keep our values and enact our laws to reflect the desires of the people. Stand up to the left-wing agenda and fight for what is right. Keep “political correctness” at bay and do not let it govern what you do and say….
Do not talk with political ambiguity and act out of self-serving benefit. Speak the truth and do what is right. We want integrity and honesty out of all our leaders and we are now DEMANDING it…..
Tom Aldridge was a prophet in 2014. The American people demanded action even if it was vetoed. Instead they saw that the Republicans in Congress once again followed the siren call of the media pundits and political advisors.
They warned them not to be obstructionists and to “find common ground.” Unfortunately the only “common ground” that the Democrats identified was the ground that the people won for the Republicans in 2010 and 2014. (The Republicans did not win it – the people won it and they expected Republicans to do something with it.)
Enter Donald Trump. He threw the rule book out the window. He spoke plainly and bluntly. He offered no polished nuances. Politicians had given away our nation and freedom. He was going to put America first and make America great again. Americans agreed.
He is now the President. His inaugural address made it clear that he was not going to be like so many other politicians. To the chagrin of the Washington establishment, he did not speak one way on the campaign trail and then as soon as he took the oath of office, audition for a part in the Washington chorus.
President Trump recognizes that those who are crying for unity mean unity on their own terms. “Bi-partisan compromise” in their minds means that if Republicans do not go along with them, the media elites will portray them as hateful bigots.
Donald Trump pulled back the curtain of the Wizard of Oz. He revealed that behind the roar, thunder, and fire is just an inept and powerless little creature.
Republicans need to put the focus doing what they promised to do. They need to ignore the deceptive facade of unity. There can be compromise, but Republicans have all the leverage now. They had better get an abundance more than they give up.
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