In the days since Election Day, and during the coming weeks and months, the message from the White House has been and will be put forth endlessly as accepted wisdom, the lie repeated often enough until it becomes truth: that Americans voted for Congress and the White House to “work together.” That what they want is government action to solve their problems.
This assertion, which is not just wrong but disprovable, serves the White House purpose of quieting conservatives who are willing to muck up business as usual in order to scuttle or at least make a vigorous point about President Obama’s unconstitutional effort to legislate immigration law from the West Wing, among other unlawful acts. But it’s nonsense.
In his post-election post-mortem press conference, President Obama asserted:
What’s most important to the American people right now, the resounding message not just of this election, but basically the last several is: Get stuff done.
He said something similar just two days ago at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda:
The last few elections, the American people have sent Washington a pretty clear message: Find areas where you agree, don’t let the areas where you disagree shut things down, work together and get the job done.
And yet, the exit polling done on behalf of a consortium of major news outlets shows quite the opposite.
Asked, “Which is closer to your view: Government should do more to solve problems or Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals,” 54 percent chose the latter, while only 41 percent said they wanted government to do more.
Asked “How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right?” A resounding 20 percent – sarcasm intended – said Just about always or most of the time while 79 percent chose only some of the time or never.
Taken together, it’s obvious from these responses that the election was not a cry for help from the government, unless you assume some mass suppressed masochism under which voters want Obama and Congress to “work together” to inflict more harm.
Meanwhile, from the mushy middle, establishment Republicans will be warning their excitable comrades to the right that all their noise is going to further plunge the “Republican brand” into ruin and destroy the GOP’s 2016 election chances.
And where’s the evidence of that?
Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, shut down the government in October 2013 over Obamacare. The next month, in purple Virginia, conservative firebrand Ken Cuccinelli came within two percentage points of being elected governor despite being outspent 2:1, and might have won had a Libertarian Party candidate not taken 6.5 percent of the vote. Northern Virginia, with its federal workforce, was particularly hard hit by the shutdown.
And, of course, a year later, Republicans swept into control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House.
And yet, in the coming months, you will be told over and over again by the supposedly rational-thinking set in Washington that you’d better be down with more cooperation so we can get things done and prove Republicans can govern.
Don’t listen to it.
The lesson has not been that stands on principle hurt the Republican Party, even if unpopular as they are being conducted. Such stands actually help identify the Party as a meaningful, conservative, outfit that wants to get the government out of people’s lives. And that’s the “Republican brand” that will win national elections.