(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)
Have you ever had an imaginary argument with your dog, and then the dog gets some really good shots in?
It happened between me and my dog the other day after eight U.S. representatives helped oust the speaker of the House, a first in U.S. history.
Colorado’s U.S. Rep. Ken Buck joined seven other rogue Republicans and every Democrat in the House to oust Kevin McCarthy.
I’ve known Buck for 15 years or so. I found him to be a thoughtful, standup guy with a better-than-average politician’s flare for getting attention.
As there are every two years, there are rumors again he might not run for reelection in his very safe congressional district, making him one of the biggest teases for other Republicans coveting that plum seat.
Why in the world did he vote to leave the national Republican Party completely rudderless during such a crucial and vulnerable time?
Why, with a major election for control of both houses of Congress and the presidency only a year away, would he plunge the one-and-only, fragile stronghold of Republican power into complete chaos?
Perhaps because there is nothing more dangerous than a politician who is exiting “public” life. He is either free to vote his conscience or vote in a way that will land him the best job in the civilian afterlife.
But the question remains, was ousting McCarthy a good decision? Over a couple of beer and Milk-Bones, my dog and I went at it.
Obviously, I explained to the mutt, it was a wallowing, short-sighted damaging decision.
Republicans seem to forget politics is the art of addition, not subtraction. The goal is to win elections and stay in power, not to have public temper tantrums and let your opponents win by falling into disarray (Otherwise known as the “Colorado model of Republican Politics”).
The eight Republicans say they are tired of the fiscal insanity going on in Washington, D.C. But is the enemy of fiscal sanity Kevin McCarthy, or is it President Joe Biden and New York U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer?
Kevin McCarthy didn’t increase spending and debt by $6 trillion. He’s not the one who’s raising the deficit $10 trillion. He’s not the one wanting to spend another $2 trillion of money we don’t have should his party win next year.
Buck and friends have again put the focus on Republican dysfunction. It’s something no voter finds attractive heading into a colossally important presidential election.
And as Republicans do so well, they blow things up without any plan fix it afterward.
My dog concedes these are all fine points, but reminds me from his point of view the difference between the parties are of style only, not substance.
Republicans talk a great game about fiscal responsibility, he reminds me, but when in power continue to just add to the national debt and continue to put our kids and grandkids on a road to devastating insolvency, be it at a slower pace.
He reminds me we don’t have two parties. We have one big political party with two halves. We have a half-a-party who will bring financial ruin very soon, Democrats, and another half who will bring financial ruin just a little later down the road, Republicans.
Could it be, he barks, these rogues are the only ones who can read a balance sheet and demand Republicans walk their talk?
Stupid dog. There’s also this thing called political reality. You can’t make political change if you’re not the party in power.
If Kevin McCarthy didn’t reach a budget deal with the Democrats, there’d be a government shutdown. And the political reality is Republicans get blamed. Period. It’s as real as gravity. The Democrats and their propaganda wing, the mainstream media, will weaponize it into an election issue.
Stupid human. It’ll be the same the next election year, and the one after that, until the nation is broken. There will always be a “critical” election coming, and Republicans will always be pressured to spend more money and ruin the country half as slowly as Democrats. And I’m the one who had his testicles removed?
Tough talk, dog. When Republicans win, we get tax cuts, reduced regulations and less inflation. Remember just three years ago, oh, that’s 21 years in dog years. Enjoy being “right” in the permanent minority until I have to eat you for food.
God, I hate my dog.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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