The Corner

Conservative Activists to GOP Leaders: Don’t Cave

Here’s an open letter. It urges congressional Republicans “to stop the power-grab agendas of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.” It continues:


There are two ways President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid could get what they want out of the Congress now.

First, just enough Republicans could vote with the Democrats and against most other Republicans to pass what Obama, Pelosi, and Reid want passed.

Second, the Republican leadership could negotiate a “deal” with the Democrats and take most Republican Representatives and Senators with them.

Either of those two courses would be a disaster for conservative principles because they would result in permanent advances for the “fundamental changes” the left wants to impose on our country. . . .


Right now it is generally but incorrectly believed that Republicans aren’t able to negotiate from a position of strength.

I’m left unclear about a few things. First, what do these conservatives actually want the congressional Republicans to do about the scheduled across-the-board increase in taxes, which happens whether or not Congress acts? Would passing a bill to extend the middle-class tax cuts constitute a cave under either definitions one or two? If so, is the implicit advice to let taxes rise on everyone, or threaten to, unless Democrats agree to stop them from rising on anyone? Also, the letter does not extend on that tantalizing remark that Republicans are in a stronger position than they seem to be. Why are they?

At no point does the letter acknowledge that taxes are scheduled to go up across the board, let alone tell congressional Republicans what they should do about it. It’s great to stiffen their spines — but to do what, exactly?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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