I am by nature a hot head. I get angry first and ask question later. It has been my life long struggle to overcome this trait. My parents helped me with this trait by asking me repeatedly, “What are you accomplishing by being so angry?” The answer was, of course, nothing. My anger was, and still is, at its worst in the face of the unsolvable problem. It is more an expression of sheer frustration than it is actual anger. But the fundamental question my parents always threw at me still applies. Does my frustration/anger move me any closer to a solution of the unsolvable problems that set it off? The answer again is, no it does not, it just feels good. Regardless, the problem remains.
The Obama administration is the ultimate unsolvable problem. Their disregard for tradition, convention, and the Constitution renders the situation such that the only way to effectively oppose them is to be willing to break tradition, convention and the Constitution more than they already have. In other words, the only way to “win” the issue at hand is to concede on issues far more important and far more fundamental than the issue at hand. Frustration and anger in the face of the Obama administration is a perfectly natural and understandable feeling.
But if we make decisions based on our anger and frustration rather than principle, values and the politics of the moment – if we make decisions just to vent and feel good – we are no different than the liberals that frustrate us so. Worse, as Jim Geraghty pointed out yesterday Obama wants us angry and frustrated:
Mickey Kaus characterizes the approach as “gaslighting” — giving your opponent a legitimate reason to get angry, then turning around and pointing to their anger as evidence they’re unhinged, obsessed, incapable of governing responsibly, et cetera.
Worst of all, as Daniel Henninger pointed out this morning, this may very well be an electoral strategy on the part of Obama. Six months ago we had 2016 in the bag. But now, “…politics looks a lot like ancient Rome—bloodlettings, betrayals and mass spectacle.” And he said that BEFORE today’s bombshell from Kevin McCarthy.
There will be much journalism in the next days and weeks trying to find out what went wrong here. It is clear McCarthy did not think he could put together a coalition sufficient to do the job effectively. Many stories will be written about why he could not, but at the bottom of all of it will be the felt need on the part of all of us so frustrated by the Obama administration to be really, really ticked off.
I have talked to several friends in the last couple of hours, the friends that I knew would be pleased with the McCarthy news. Summing up: 1) McCarthy just was not angry enough, and 2) They do not have any better ideas. Well, twice now anger has been expressed, first in the resignation of Boehner and now in the withdrawal of McCarthy. But what has been accomplished?
The immediate effect of McCarthy withdrawing himself from consideration as Speaker is to extend Boehner’s term, a lame duck extension; guaranteeing that we are right now in a worse position to oppose Obama’s next move than we were in when we woke up this morning. The lack of unity now boldly apparent in the party, in the middle of a presidential primary the purpose of which is to unite the party, bodes great ill for next year’s elections. Yeah, it’s a political eternity until votes are cast, but at this point we have managed to turn a straight flush into a pair.
Blood has been spilled – probably one more time than it should have been. But it is now time to put the anger aside and start asking ourselves, “How do we solve the unsolvable problem?” Funny thing is, next November gives us the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. But only if we can stop being angry, stop spilling blood, and start getting really busy towards that end.