"We're surrounded, that simplifies the problem."
–Lt. Gen. Louis "Chesty" Puller, USMC
Sometimes it must seem to the small Republican minority in both House and Senate that they are helplessly surrounded by the Democratic majority, especially since the Democrats keep trying to ride roughshod over them, and it must be hard to think that knowledge of their problem somehow simplifies it.
But Chesty was right: Understanding the reality of your situation is the first step in dealing with it. And there are two ways to deal with it: accept it or fight your way out of it.
If the United States is to survive as a nation of free men and women the second choice is absolutely mandatory.
This is not the first time Republicans on the Hill were drastically reduced in numbers, and overwhelmed by the popularity of a new president that enabled him to set the agenda and gave him the opportunity push it through a compliant Congress.
The arrival of the Kennedy administration in 1961 was the last time that happened – the 87th Congress had 64 Democrats in the Senate and a paltry 36 Republicans. On the House side there were 262 Democrats and 175 Republicans.
In the House, Republicans under Minority Leader Charlie Halleck didn't let the fact they were surrounded faze them. Instead of mindlessly opposing the entire Kennedy agenda, the picked their targets carefully, going after the Democratic Party programs they thought they had a chance to defeat.
They had allies – Southern Democrats who in those days were universally conservative and could be relied on to join Republicans in voting against the worst of the Kennedy proposals. They didn't always prevail, but in losing they laid the groundwork for a future agenda for the GOP when their numbers increased and they could win.
A similar situation exists today. They can no longer count on the support of Southern Democrats – most have been replaced by Republicans since the old Solid South is now pretty much solid Republican. What they can do is target that large number of Democrats who rode into Congress on the coattails of Barack Obama, winning in districts usually considered Republican.
These people are highly vulnerable. Their election to Congress was a fluke – totally the result of Obama's popularity that led voters to go down the ballot after voting for Obama and vote for other Democratic candidates as well.
In 2010 Obama won't be on the ticket. And given the continuing downward slide of his once-huge popularity rating, his standing in that category next year will have more of a negative than positive effect.
There isn't one of these dwellers in what are known as "marginal" districts who doesn't know how vulnerable they are. And because they are vulnerable and know it, approached properly, they can provide the margin of victory in battles over specific Obama programs.
If they are targeted, that is.
There are programs such as the infamous Cap and Trade bill now being considered on the Hill. A smart Republican opposition, based on alerting the public about such facts as the cost of the bill that will cripple the U.S. economy, especially in the Midwest where a lot of these vulnerable members come from, would condemn any Democratic member of Congress to defeat next year.
That should be enough to defeat the bill.
The same is true of the Obama healthcare bill and other similar socialist programs now on the Obama agenda. If House Republicans go after those 40 or so Democrats from marginal districts they can stop much of the Obama agenda from being shoved down the throats of the American people.
Last night I listened to Dick Morris, author of the new book "Catastrophe" (Harper Collins) when he appeared on Sean Hannity's show on Fox. What he had to say should shock – and scare – the living daylights out of Americans who love their country and want to prosper and live in freedom.
According to Morris, the current recession with its growing army of unemployed is no accident. Obama planned it that way even before he was elected.
"It's no longer a war on poverty," Morris said. "It's now a war on prosperity."
Obama, he said, "is pursuing an idea that is totally different from the American idea of economic growth. He follows the European dream, the idea that you redistribute income, that you segment society into classes, that you attenuate your economic growth in order to distribute it among everybody.
The president's policies, Morris said, are going to prolong this recession. "They are not policies designed to end the rescission. The recession was designed to pass his policies. Spending isn't the means to an end, it's the end itself."
Obama, Morris said "wants the United States to be like Germany and France. He wants us to be a socialist democracy."
Only the Republicans in Congress can stop this from happening. Let them heed another Chesty Pullerism: “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us – they can’t get away this time.”
Phil Brennan writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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