A new poll from Wall Street Journal/NBC News finds that the Republicans are gaining ground on the issues of the economy, foreign policy and the federal deficit, earning higher ratings than Democrats. The GOP is gaining favorability among independents in particular.
But there's another interesting poll released by Pew Research this week which found that 71% of Tea Partiers disapprove of GOP leadership.
So what is happening here? I would argue that it is not so much that Republicans are gaining ground, but that the Democrats are losing ground and conservatives are gaining (though often identified as Republicans). Yes, there is a difference between Republicans and conservatives. I am a registered conservative. I want to see conservative principles implemented in Washington, but you can't do that if you don't have conservatives who are willing to fight for them. This is where some Republicans are failing. While I would hope that the Republican Party would stand for conservative principles, that has been called into question lately, particularly on the issue of defunding ObamaCare.
Another poll this week found that only 39% of Americans support ObamaCare. The number of people opposed to ObamaCare continues to grow! Yet Republicans in Congress still cannot manage to muster the courage to defund it. If a wildly unpopular and unworkable law cannot be defeated, that is inexcusable. But some Republicans in Congress are too concerned about maintaing their own power than actually doing what is best for this country.
The battle to defund ObamaCare continues to wage on. Earlier in the week you'll remember that I told you of the latest gimmick to symbolically defund ObamaCare. Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor submitted a plan earlier in the week (that has since been rejected) to essentially separate the vote on a continuing resolution with an amendment to defund ObamaCare, providing the Senate with an automatic out – It would have allowed the effort to defund ObamaCare to basically die in the Senate while the continuing resolution would be able to pass. Thusly, Republicans in the House would get “credit” for voting to defund ObamaCare but use Congressional rules in their favor to make sure that this didn't result in a government shut down. Pretty clever, huh? Well not if the Tea Party and the conservative grassroots base had anything to say about it.
Now we have a proposal put forth by Georgia Republican Congressman Tom Graves that would fund the government and delay the implementation of ObamaCare by one year. It's called the Security, Stability, and Fairness Resolution and it is co-sponsored by 42 House Republicans. This is the real-deal effort to defund ObamaCare, and it is upsetting that it doesn't have the support of every Republican in Washington DC. Nearly every single Republican ran for office on the promise of defunding ObamaCare. Here's their chance. Where are many of them to stand up and truly fight?
Reagan once rhetorically asked: “Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”
If Republicans fail to fight on this issue, they will show themselves as nothing more than watered-down Democrats. I doubt that is going to generate voter enthusiasm in the years to come.