Deroy Murdock: GOP leaders need courage and stagecraft

Scripps Howard News Service Published:

NEW YORK -- Courage, leadership and stagecraft: These active ingredients would help congressional Republicans maximize their significant, if underused, powers.

Republicans should crawl out from under their desks and remind each other that they still control the House of Representatives. GOP senators also can filibuster and frequently offer amendments to many matters.

Yes, Democrats operate the Senate and occupy the White House. But Republicans need not endure endless donkey kicks. The GOP still has considerable influence and should muster the courage to wield it.

Republicans should recognize that President Barack Obama is not 1,000 feet tall. He is a mere mortal whose job approval dropped from 51 percent last week to 47 percent this week, according to a Gallup survey. Meanwhile, Obama's job disapproval climbed from 40 percent to 46 percent.

Americans may be getting sick and tired of a president who was caught lying when he blamed Republicans for the sequester. Obama actually proposed this 2.4 percent automatic budget cut.

Even worse, Obama literally victimizes the American people. He aims to create pandemonium that might justify his fiscal madness. Obama deliberately inflicts pain by cancelling White House tours starting Saturday, "due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration," the White House Visitors Office claims. In reality, volunteers lead these tours.

Beyond the courage to confront Obama, Republicans need leadership.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Senate GOP chief Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are unsteady amid Obama's menace.

When House Republicans last week offered Obama more flexibility to prioritize spending, he balked.

Instead, the House should adopt a stand-alone bill that would let Obama shift money from extravagant, foolish programs to things like meat inspection, border patrol, childhood vaccines and other activities that truly promote health and safety. Boehner should make House Democrats choose sides: Obama's nightmare of padlocked airport-control towers and abandoned autistic children or the GOP's vision of legitimate services within a fiscally responsible limited government and a president empowered to avoid the horrors that haunt him.

Now, add stagecraft.

Don't simply pass this bill and have an anonymous functionary forward it to the Senate, perhaps via pneumatic tube. Instead, Boehner and the House's entire Republican majority should carry this bill across the U.S. Capitol Building, through the Rotunda, and greet McConnell and his gathered caucus outside the Senate chamber. Before flashing cameras and scribbling journalists, House Republicans physically would deliver this legislation to their Senate counterparts. GOP senators then would offer the House bill as an amendment and make Democratic senators decide if they would prefer for Obama to possess a campaign issue or an instrument for more prudent governance.

Such dramatic GOP action will make it increasingly difficult for Obama to point fingers at Republicans, which is his default posture. And that will make it tougher for Democrats to recapture the House in 2014 and hand Obama what he desperately craves: two capstone years of hard-Left, one-party, Democratic rule.

Republican courage, leadership and stagecraft can deny Obama his dream. Let not these gifts be as rare as gold, frankincense and myrrh.

(Deroy Murdock writes this weekly column for Scripps News Service, www.shns.com. He's also a Fox News contributor and a media fellow with Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Email Deroy.Murdock@gmail.com.)

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  • Such a shame democrats like trawl still wear the white hoods and preach racism.

  • "The Republican Party is more and more presenting themselves as a bunch of stumblebums." Billy, redlegs and dowhat are top presenters on the RC. If they are a representation of what the republican party stands for, they are definitely doomed.

  • @ Con_Bill: Mayhaps you DON'T remember Boehner saying how he got "98 percent of what he wanted" because you seem to have forgotten how badly Dick Morris (your cited source) flat out lied to you, or was so absolutely and horribly wrong, leading up to 6 November of last year. Dick Morris is one of those people who set up the humiliation of November, a humiliation so bad that many of you assumed new identities in order to avoid taking responsibility for their pre 6 Nov. rantings. Or such total humiliation that they just don't come around anymore.

  • So Just keep citing Dick Morris, Bud. And we'll keep wondering how badly someone has to be before their no longer cited as a source.

  • Not surprising this was written by a Faux "News" contributor. They're still counting on you people being so ... dumb ... as to NOT remember Boehner saying how he got "98 percent of what he wanted" which included the sequester (google it). Now come on, you people aren't so ... dumb ... to not remember that, are you? Once you remember that wouldn't you have to say this "author" trying to blame Barry a pretty dumb move?

  • The Republican Party is more and more presenting themselves as a bunch of stumblebums. The Republican party coerced the President into forcing him into accepting this sequester, something they knew to be bad enough that no one in their right mind would allow to happen .... then they allowed, actually made, it happen. The Republican Party filibusters their own bills. The Republican Party filibusters appointments. This doesn't sound like a party without power.

  • And this thing about "stagecraft", once again the Faux "News" contributor is counting on people being so clueless that they'll believe the problem isn't the Republican Party obviously doesn't support Americans but instead supports the 1% and corporations, the problem is how the Party presents itself ... The Republican Party is counting on the Rubes falling for a new coat of paint.

  • The Republican Party is more and more presenting themselves as a bunch of stumblebums. The Republican party coerced the President into forcing him into accepting this sequester, something they knew to be bad enough that no one in their right mind would allow to happen .... then they allowed, actually made, it happen. The Republican Party filibusters their own bills. The Republican Party filibusters appointments. This doesn't sound like a party without power.

  • The Republican Party is more and more presenting themselves as a bunch of stumblebums. The Republican party coerced the President into forcing him into accepting this sequester, something they knew to be bad enough that no one in their right mind would allow to happen .... then they allowed, actually made, it happen. The Republican Party filibusters their own bills. The Republican Party filibusters appointments. This doesn't sound like a party without power.

  • But it does sound like a Party without brains.

  • " When Obama lumps "entitlements" together, he inevitably means Medicare and Social Security. But the entitlements that need reining in are neither of these; they are Medicaid, food stamps, disability, subsidized housing, and welfare. Republicans, from Congressman Paul Ryan on down, must take aim at the means tested entitlements and leave the Democrats to propose cuts in Social Security or Medicare. Last year, Medicaid costs rose by 12.3%. Spending on food stamps has risen 135% over the past four years. Disability rolls are up by 50% since 2003. These are the programs that must be reined in. By contrast, the growth in Medicare and Social Security has been less than 10%." D.Morris 2/12/13