President Trump presided at an unusual signing ceremony on Thursday, the day before his address to thousands of Bible-carriers at Tony Perkins’ annual Values Voters Summit in Washington. The White House signing signified that a Republican president understands that his majorities in both houses of Congress actually don’t amount to a hill of beans.
It showed he understands that repealing and replacing Obamacare — and fulfilling many other Trump-GOP campaign promises — will not happen this year or next. Not even if conservative Republicans manage to replace what many on the right regard as the swamp’s Big Three drain blockers: Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy.
They bear the titles, if not the substance, of “Senate majority leader,” “House speaker” and “House majority leader” respectively. Probably not a good idea to mention them in most conservative circles.
A week ago Friday, U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, Utah Republican, had the mettle to say why — out loud, to American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp’s regional Conservative Political Action Conference and to National Federation of Republican Assemblies’ fire-breathing president Willes Lee’s annual convention. Both took place in tandem in Mesa, Arizona.
Mr. Biggs told both assemblies that replacing the three swamp cloggers doesn’t matter because “about 15 percent of our Republicans belong to the House Freedom Caucus, which is determined to get full Obamacare repeal.”
Another 20 percent of Republicans are in the ‘Tuesday Group’ who’ve glued themselves to parts of Obamacare, he said.
“And then there’s rest of the Republicans in the House who are sitting somewhere in between — and terribly confused,” Mr. Biggs told his two audiences, both solid with Trump-lovers. Mr. Biggs was saying explicitly and Mr. Trump implicitly, in other words, that the self-described conservative party can’t manage to elect enough conservatives to enact their party’s promises, let alone the president’s.
That’s where Mr. Perkins comes in, along with the array of rightist interest groups that came together in a separate meeting last month. Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, Freedom Works’ Adam Brandon, Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell, Independence Institute’s Amy Cooke, Heritage Foundation’s Bridget Wagner and others set out learn how to take the offense in America’s political-culture battles instead of always being on the defense against what they see as the left’s incessant offense, with its wily, conniving, infiltrating, lying tactics.
The test will be whether they can succeed in their plan to learn and use successfully the tactics and strategies of the late leftist Saul Alinsky — minus his lying, Mr. Bozell insisted — to grow the donors and backers of conservative organizations and use that power to elect to Congress true-hearts instead of CINOs — conservative in name only. We’ll get our first inkling when the votes are counted in next year’s elections.
• Ralph Z. Hallow, chief political writer at The Washington Times, has covered Washington since 1982.
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