- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

Do Republicans even know they won?

Forgive the question, but it dawns, given their recent behavior in Congress, that Republicans are either above and beyond courteous, desirous of helping Democrats every which way they can — or they just don’t know they won, that they are the party of the majority.

In a phrase: Budget bill.

Rather than fighting, Republicans rubber-stamped. And for Democrats, it’s a dream come true.

Some clarification, to say the least, seems in order. So here goes.

Hey, GOP, vini, vidi, vici. You came in November, you saw, you conquered. You won. Write it down. Repeat often. Share accordingly. The election’s over, and it’s the Democrats who’ve fallen.

But Republicans? You have majorities in the House and Senate, and a member of the GOP sits in the president’s seat in the White House. Step away from the bargaining tables. Quit making deals with the Democrats. Quit conceding to the Democrats.

Quit treating them as if their opinions mattered.

They don’t.

Remember, Democrats lost. They’re supposed to be scurrying — supposed to be running for corners, clamoring for relevancy, crying out to fundraisers and the base with bated last breaths.

So let them go and get on with the business at hand — the one demanded by voters — which, in layman’s lingo, is honoring the promises of the Republican Party from all the yesteryears when Democrats held majorities.

Obamacare. Repeal it.

Planned Parenthood. Defund it.

Government regulation. Reel it in.

Border wall. Build it.

And when Trump suggests a government shutdown might just be the cure for what congressionally ails? Don’t flee like a little fairy.

Make the Democrats deal.

“The reason for the [budget] plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We …” Trump tweeted, and then followed, with this: “either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”

The elites were quick to quake. But Republicans’ reaction to a talked-about government shutdown? It ought to have been this: So what?

Caring about government shutdowns is such a government thing.

Government workers get all uppity over the notion. But average, patriotic Americans? They see money savings. To them, a government that threatens to shut just means a government that’s forced to work within lean means — to consider carefully the crucial and key aspects of government that need to stay open, and fund accordingly.

And that’s supposed to be what a limited, constitutional government does on a day-to-day basis, anyway.

Those who panic over government shutdowns only reveal themselves as Big Government types.

But rather than realize this reality, Republicans have run — they’ve deal-maked to death with the Democrats, to the point where the left won big in the budget. And now Republicans in Congress are legislating and governing from positions of weakness.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have been enabled to cage Trump in a no-win situation.

Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, for instance, said of Trump’s tweets about a shutdown, The New York Times reported: “It is truly a shame that the president is degrading [the budget bill] because he didn’t get 100 percent of what he wanted. … You can’t always get what you want.”

That was after House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote: “In a defeat for President Trump, the [budget bill] does not fund the immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force.”

See how the leftists work? They’ve got it now so they win on messaging either way. If Trump doesn’t OK the budget, he’s a crybaby. If Trump does sign the budget bill, he’s breaking promises to his base.

If only Republicans in Congress would’ve fought more — would’ve fought at all, for that matter — then perhaps it would’ve been Democrats who would be forced to make the hard choices between funding unwanted projects or shuttering government.

It would’ve perhaps been Democrats who would’ve had to make the news talk show circuits and explain why, oh why, to their angry base they couldn’t secure Planned Parenthood funding, or stop the border wall from being constructed.

If only Republicans would act like the leaders that voters made them — if only they would put the Democrats on the defensive once in a while — maybe Trump wouldn’t have to distance himself from them with tweets. Maybe conservative voters wouldn’t feel so betrayed. And maybe the government would actually operate the way people willed at the ballot boxes. Come on, Republicans. Show some gumption. Get some spunk. Let it be the left that runs scared instead.

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