Saturday, March 03, 2012

George Will: "Plan B for stopping Obama"

In a column that's not hopeful for the 2012 Presidential election, but hopeful for both the country and conservativism (and reminiscent of his columm some years ago that noted that the Republic had survived eight years of Bill Clinton), George Will reminds people of the conservative success that followed Goldwater's massive 1964 loss, and pointed to further successes in the future, in case, as he notes, "neither … seems likely to be elected. Neither has demonstrated, or seems likely to develop, an aptitude for energizing a national coalition that translates into 270 electoral votes".
Several possible Supreme Court nominations and the staffing of the regulatory state are among the important reasons conservatives should try to elect whomever the GOP nominates. But conservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013.

If Republicans do, their committee majorities will serve as fine-mesh filters, removing President Obama’s initiatives from the stream of legislation. Then Republicans can concentrate on what should be the essential conservative project of restoring something like constitutional equipoise between the legislative and executive branches.

Such a restoration would mean that a reelected Obama, a lame duck at noon Jan. 20, would have a substantially reduced capacity to do harm. Granted, he could veto any major conservative legislation. But such legislation will not even get to his desk because Republicans will not have 60 senators. In an undoubtedly bipartisan achievement, both parties have participated in institutionalizing an extra-constitutional Senate supermajority requirement for all but innocuous or uncontroversial legislation. This may be a dubious achievement, but it certainly enlarges the power of a congressional party to play defense against a president….

Beginning next January, 51 or more Republican senators, served by the canny Mitch McConnell’s legislative talents, could put sand in the gears of an overbearing and overreaching executive branch. This could restore something resembling the rule of law, as distinct from government by fiats issuing from unaccountable administrative agencies exercising excessive discretion.
What he's suggesting, of course, is that even if Obama wins, if Republicans can win the Senate (as they seem likely to do), four years of "gridlock" in Washington will provide both a corrective for Obama's over-reach and an opportunity for conservative candidates in 2016 to emerge and refine their messages:
From Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to Wisconsin’s Rep. Paul Ryan, Republicans have a rising generation of potential 2016 candidates. This does not mean conservatives should be indifferent to the fate of this year’s nominee, and it is perhaps premature to despair of Romney’s and Santorum’s political aptitudes. Still, the presidency is not everything, and there will be another election in the next year divisible by four.

1 comment:

  1. I've always considered "gridlock" in the Fed. Govt. to be a good thing. I wish there had been more of it in both the current administration and the previous one. Maybe George Will would say I'm therefore a bona-fide conservative, heh.

    I'm amazed that the experts are predicting Obama will win. I figured he would be a one-term President (that whichever candidate won would necessarily be a one-term president). A Republican Senate would be a very good thing. I think it is more important in the long run in many ways than which party wins the presidency.