September 25, 2013

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Why I Expect Much More of Republicans on Obamacare

Sam Adams and friends risked their lives in the commission of a felony in their outrage over government overreach.

That was the Boston Tea Party.

Look at us now! People furious with me for going after Senator Roy Blunt. I went after him because he announced he will vote for cloture knowing full well that cloture give Harry Reid his only chance to strip the House’s Obamacare defund language from the continuing resolution. Without cloture, the Democrats have to negotiate. With cloture, they can run roughshod of the Republicans.

I won’t back down because I demand more of my Republican representatives than I expect from Democrats.

Why do I expect more from Republicans?

Because I bought into the Republican notion that the party stands for courage and freedom. I still believe that within the GOP lies the American Ideal. And I’m not ready to give that up.

It is our birthright to expect a lot our elected leaders. Look what we expect from our doctors, our teachers, our inventors, scientists, engineers, artist, actors, entrepreneurs, and managers.

I still believe what General Patton told the Third Army on June 5, 1944:

When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

It is in our history to demand exceptional courage, commitment to principle, selflessness, statesmanship, responsible risk, and bold action from the people we elect. If we expect it of our enlisted personnel and draftees, we sure as hell should demand it from exalted Senators.

Of course, I’m not stupid enough to believe we won’t make mistakes. Yes, we’ll elect people who fail to live up to our admittedly high standards.

And we put up with human flaws. We should. We just won’t tolerate self-serving surrender.

I don’t expect perfection from anyone. I firmly believe what Peter Drucker said: people of great strength are also people of great weakness.

I might be the exception. I have remarkably deep and refined weaknesses that aren’t balanced with any notable strengths. But that’s my problem. And my family’s, I guess.

When we send people to Washington, though, as our representatives in government, we have every right–and a duty–to expect that their strengths be principle, courage, and boldness at critical moments in human history.

We are standing on the doorstep of history. Without courageous action, everything will change. For the worse. The American Era teeters.

This is not the moment for slick gimmicks. This isn’t the time to vote for Obamacare before you vote against it.

This is the moment to risk your career for the country if you are are Republican Senator or Representative.

This moment.

I would hate to be a Republican Senator today. I would hate the burden of history on my shoulders. Looking across America from Washington would buckle my knees. I break a cold sweat just thinking about such responsibility.

And I can only hope and pray that I would do the right thing if I were there. Nothing in my character or experience convinces me I would.

I can tell you, though, I wouldn’t relish doing what Ted Cruz is doing right now. I wouldn’t willingly trade places with Mike Lee. Or Roy Blunt.

And if, God forbid, I woke up tomorrow a US Senator from Missouri, and if that cloture vote stared at me while Senators Cruz and Lee stood and fought, I would pray that this cup would pass me by.

Left to my own devices, I am too weak to do the right thing. I know I am.

But I would not be alone.

I would be nothing more than the embodiment of you, of your courage. Of your hopes and prayers. I would be an animated vessel of the Marines at Iwo Jima, Washington at Valley Forge, and Reagan at Reykjavik.

As unworthy and unfit for such a job as I am, I’d forget my feeble courage and let theirs flow through me. I’d know the fate of the American experiment wasn’t really on my shoulders, but on the boundless courage of those remarkable people who faced greater fears than I could imagine – and soldiered on.

In America, the highest rank of society is citizen. Senator is down below school boards, town councils, and State Reps. As long as the people are behind me, I don’t need my own courage; they’ll lend me theirs. And if God would not take that cup from me, He’d send me whatever I needed to do my job. If I would only let Him.

At least, I pray I’d do so.

For weeks, you have lent your courage to Republican Senators. Millions of petition signatures. Thousands upon thousands of phone calls and office visits, emails, letters. You gave them your strength and a simple instruction: expend every drop of your power as a citizen and a Senator to stop this monstrosity of a law.

So far, three Republican Senators – McConnell, Cornyn, and Blunt – have closed their hearts and minds to the courage and strength you sent their way. They tried to stare down history with only the meager courage of a single human being. They tried to go it alone. And they flinched.

I’m not angry at Roy Blunt for his cloture vote. I’m disappointed that he wouldn’t channel our power to save America.

I don’t want to vote for Superman. I want to vote for simple people humble enough to channel and use the power we willingly lend them to do the right thing.

At least when the republic hangs in the balance.