By Harold Pease, Ph. D
The fact that my congressman, Kevin McCarthy, could not secure 218 Republican House votes to replace Speaker John A. Boehner, after virtually being nominated by him, did not surprise me—he earned it. He is an extremely likeable fellow and certainly a leader but he has two flaws that came to hurt him. McCarthy is first for himself, an opportunist (as his inordinately fast rise to power indicates), and second, he is for the Republican Party at all costs. Normally this is how most politicians of both political parties look at things and it has worked well for them and him, until now.
Unfortunately the Constitution is not of first consideration in problem solving and legislation, his path is strewn with compromises that weaken or damage it. In vote after vote, as with Boehner, there exist no fight in his belly to defend it as first priority, even if what they propose cannot survive the Senate or a Presidential veto. Even if programs that are not easily constitutionally defended like, Obamacare, executive amnesty, or more recently, Planned Parenthood, are left without funding. He is too easily persuaded with “we do not have the votes,” giving an automatic win without a serious fight to those who have little or no respect for the Constitution.
There are two problems with “no constitutional fight in the belly” members of Congress, first the significant weakening of the Constitution from decade to decade in its ability to protect us from ever-bigger government until the Constitution becomes irrelevant. My heavens!! The President, who has no Constitutional law making power, through executive order, makes about half of the rules by which this nation is governed, while the Legislative Branch sits on its butt whining, “We cannot push this because the President will veto it.” My point!! We have compromised freedom away to the point where soon we will have nothing left to give up.
Second, as the country, as represented by the increase of Tea Party House members elected every two years beginning in 2010, is catching on to our loss of liberty and begging the Boehner’s and McCarthy’s to stand with them, they are not. Thus the divide in the Republican Party and, whomever replaces Boehner as Speaker will inherit the same contempt if he refuses to represent, as first priority, the Constitution in future lawmaking and issue resolvement.
Ironically both received warnings of the new political awakening and things could have been much different for Boehner and McCarthy had they listened. Both attended the first Bakersfield Tea Party rally in early 2009 where between three and five thousand angry voters gathered at the Liberty Bell to protest the policies of George W. Bush and his successor Barack Obama, which appeared to be too similar and both in opposition to limited government, the Constitution and the free market. Instead of viewing the proceedings with their constituents, they separated themselves to a third story window room in a government building next to Liberty Bell. I watched them from below as I joined other prominent community spokespersons in defense of the Constitution, limited government and the free market. It was a mistake.
In his August Congressional break that followed, Congressman McCarthy addressed several hundred people at California State University, Bakersfield kindly answering every question submitted from his, mostly Tea Party constituents. When the meeting time ended he graciously stayed on the floor until everyone had an opportunity to ask his or her question. He said all the right things with respect to his total opposition to Obamacare. He would go back to Washington and kill it. Long after the meeting had ended I was able to express my fear to him that he opposed a Democratic National Health Care Plan but did not oppose a Republican National Health Care Plan. “Since the word heath, or anything like it, is not in Article I, Section 8,” I asked, “and authority not thereafter added by way of an amendment to the Constitution,” he should return to Washington D.C. and oppose either party initiating, without authority, any federal policies on health. He was noticeably disturbed and said, “He would do what is necessary.” I knew than that adherence to the Constitution was not his first concern.
Now Congressman McCarthy, you know why you could not get the needed 218 votes to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. You did not listen to your constituency or the wave of Americans wanting to get back to America’s basics. But I still have hope in you. If you can get beyond yourself, get beyond your party (that gave us the Environmental Protection Agency and No Child Left Behind and so many other programs not constitutionally based) and get competent constitutional advisers, some of us would like to be led by you. We need your incredible leadership skills and your friendly countenance on the side of liberty protected by the Constitution. Show us that you can be trusted to adhere to the Constitution, limited government and the free market. The movement for these things is not going away.
If you listen this time you could, in the future, become the most influential Speaker of the House in our history and one of our greatest patriots. Show some constitutional fight in your belly. This time listen to your people, honor your oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and help take back our country and Constitution before it is too late.