Dear Establishment GOP, you're clearly flummoxed that the Republican presidential primary is devolving into a race between Donald Trump, who you cannot control, and Ted Cruz, who you despise.
You thought that after the eight-year Barack Obama debacle, a Bush trifecta would be your gilded path back to the promised land at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But Jeb Bush and your other Establishment guys are barely moving the needle which exposes your big problem; the Republican base has gone AWOL.
Reading between the lines of your National Review diatribe "Against Trump,"
you clearly believe that the fault lies with us, your conservative base. You're rolling out a steady anti-Trump menu, you even used your annual SOTU response to bash The Donald.
In your view your base is naughtily chugging the sugary Trump Kool-Aid, laced as it is with barely hidden liberal additives. But then, we're not part of you, the professional political class that Occupies D.C., where an ever-expansive government works to your favor.
We're trying to pursue happiness outside of the Beltway, but we are drowning in high debt, high taxes, mountains of federal regulations and mandates, open borders, terrorist threats, spurned veterans and unfunded mandates exceeding $100 trillion. Don't even try to blame all of that on Democrats and Obama – we'll explain that shortly.
Right now just listen up: We aren't AWOL, you are.
Here's a memo from your (former) Republican base: We've opted for a trial separation, even a divorce if you don't clean up your act. You see, we also believe in the power of the "broad conservative ideological consensus" that you cite in your aforementioned National Review issue. We just happen to believe that any consensus must be based upon the principles of limited government and individual liberty as espoused in America's founding documents. Those timeless principles that made America great. That's where we are, that's where we've been all along. But rhetoric aside, you've found a new master: unlimited government.
Here's our evidence, and it is crystal clear. We listened to you in 2000 and sent your guy George W. Bush to the White House. You told us he needed a supporting cast in the House and the Senate. Done. We even re-elected Bush in 2004 and maintained majorities in both congressional chambers. How did that work out for us?
- Your guys blew through debt ceilings like Chuck Yeager on a bender. The federal debt was $5.7 trillion when you came in, and when the dust cleared eight years later it was $10.6 trillion. That's an increase of about 86%; nicely done.
- You preached much-needed entitlement reform and we applauded. But then you actually expended entitlements by inventing Medicare Part D. Apparently reform = expansion.
- Limiting government? Please. You grew government big time when you established the Department of Homeland Security, now the third biggest entity in D.C. And while you'll claim you were keeping America safe, we'd say great concept. But taxpayer dollars would be much better spent by investing in our armed forces as opposed to adding more layers of government bureaucrats and bureaucracy.
- You also regulated us into submission, rolling out countless new federal government regulations. The Federal Registry under President George W. Bush topped out at about 79,000 pages, just a smidgeon behind President Obama's high-water mark of about 82,000 pages. At least Barack openly embraces a government-gone-wild.
- And then there was No Child Left Behind, a massive, we-know-better federal boot print on the states. Because Washington, D.C. knows best, right?
There's more, but you get the idea. In short, eight years of a GOP frat party created an expanded government resume that would make Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders beam with pride.
Then in 2010 you told us we needed to gain control of the House of Representatives. You know, where America's purse strings reside. OK, done. And what difference did that make?
We may as well have left Nancy Pelosi in charge (but we admit John Boehner was more fun to watch). Then you told us that, hey, the real problem was that Harry Reid was blocking everything in the Senate, so if we would rally the troops and vote for your senate candidates in 2012, then you could make some real headway against Obama. Again, done. How's that working out?
You just drafted and passed the quadrillion-dollar budget for 2016, a monstrosity that had Obama and Democrats gloating because they got virtually every intrusive spending program they demanded. It will pile up billions more in federal deficits. How does that comport with conservative values?
And it didn't stop there. Your GOP-led Senate passed the Corker Bill, which knowingly contorted Article II Section 2 of the Constitution, thereby treating Obama's national security-compromising Iran nuclear deal as an "agreement" instead of the treaty that it truly is. Every single Republican senator save one (Tom Cotton, hardly one of your Establishment guys, and apparently the only one who reads the Constitution) voted to capitulate their authority of treaty approval. So when Iran, the world's biggest state sponsor of terrorism, nukes up, we'll certainly blame a legacy-mad Obama. But GOP senators will get the award for Best Supporting Actor(s).
And now here you are again, wooing us, whispering sweet nothings in our ears: "Trust us, baby!" Just get us back in the White House, and then we'll really change! Well, been there, done that. We're sick and tired of being coaxed to the alter, saying "I do" and going to bed with Mr. GOP Establishment only to be jilted right after consummation, when you run off with she of great big governments, or something. The sad fact we've been forced to confront is that there is a professional political class, Democrats and Republicans alike, who benefit from an ever-expanding government.
This political cycle we aren't swooning to your tired siren song, and you're torqued at us. It's our fault because we love to put on our Constitutional garments. So what if they're north of being two centuries old, they still fit. And you're furious that we're stepping out with Mr. Trump. "He's not a true conservative," you scold. "He's supported liberals," you chide. "He's just an actor," you sniff. Wait, aren't those the same lines that many of your ilk used against another solidly non-Establishment presidential candidate by the name of Ronald Reagan?
So we're done with you big government GOP insiders. That may bode ill for the Republican Party in the near term, but then that's on you. And maybe that is for the best, at least for the nation. What is apparent is that there exists an incurable divide in America, but it isn't racial, economic, geographical or even political. The biggest divide, the rift that will destroy our Republic, is Washington, D.C., vs. Main Street America. And D.C. is winning.
We already have one Big Government Party, we don't need another one. What we do need are Constitutional champions, just as big as we can get them. That's the only way to perpetuate the American Dream for our progeny. Like it or not GOP insiders, your political adultery opened the window to Candidate Trump. So don't bother to call, we're out to Make America Great Again.
Patrick Murray (Colonel, USA, retired) served in the U.S. Army for 25 years. In 2010 and 2012 he was the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Virginia's 8th Congressional District. He is a political-military commentator on TV and radio, and is the author the book "Government Is the Problem." Patrick lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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