Earlier this year, Republican members of the House held their three-day annual retreat, the House Republican Issues Conference, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
“Americans are facing the worst inflation crisis in 40 years and struggling to make ends meet,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, chair of the House Republican Conference. She also mentioned “record high gas prices, a grave crisis at the southern border, worsening crime, and a national security crisis.” She blamed these crises on the Biden administration and congressional Democrats: “And these crises, make no mistake, have been created by President Biden and House Democrats’ failed leadership and reckless policies. And yet, despite this, President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Democrats are doubling down on this failed agenda and trying to pass the buck for the pain they are causing American families.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California reminded the attendees that Republicans had previously created seven task forces to listen to Americans and “find the solutions for America to a lot of the problems the Democrats have created.”
The seven task forces include: Jobs and the Economy; Big Tech Censorship and Data; Future of American Freedoms; Energy, Climate and Conservation; American Security; Healthy Futures; and China Accountability. The seven leaders of each task force began the retreat by highlighting each area they say they will focus on in the coming months and years.
“Big Tech has become a destructive force,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. Every single right we enjoy as Americans “has been assaulted by the left,” said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, but Republicans remain committed to “defending and respecting the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and Americans’ liberties.” Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana said that his task force is ready to create a “path forward where the United States can play a leadership role in increasing energy resources for the United States citizens.” “The border is wide open,” said Rep. John Katko of New York. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky said the objective of the Healthy Futures task force is to “develop targeted solutions that modernize our health care system for lower costs and create more choices and more innovation.” Filling in for Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, the House Minority Leader promised that Republicans have or are developing better solutions to address the food and gasoline cost crises. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas believes that China poses a critical threat to America, and that the United States needs to limit the kinds of technology exported to China.
In reporting on this Republican retreat, a writer for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, titled her piece “GOP Lawmakers Cite 7 Ways the Left Has Failed Americans.” Since she did not also mention the miserable failings of Republicans, it might be pertinent to take a quick look at “7 Ways the Right Has Failed Americans.”
1. The Right has failed Americans on gun control. It was just last month that 15 Republican senators and 14 Republican representatives voted with Senate and House Democrats to pass the Democrat’s latest gun-control bill. Whenever there is a high-profile mass shooting, some conservatives will join with liberals in supporting more gun-control laws. But even though the Second Amendment has no exceptions, even the most conservative members of Congress support the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), federal licensing of gun dealers, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and federal bans on certain types of guns.
2. The Right has failed Americans on foreign aid. About $35-40 billion a year is looted from Americans and given to foreign governments and NGOs. Yet, the only time that conservatives generally question foreign aid spending is when some country that receives U.S. foreign aid does something stupid or against U.S. interests. Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly support giving billions more of American dollars to Ukraine and Taiwan.
3. The Right has failed Americans on the welfare state. The federal government has about 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, subsidies, and a variety of social services to poor, disabled, and lower-income Americans on the basis of the beneficiary’s income or assets. But since the government has no money of its own, it can’t give one American benefits without first taking money from another American. The only difference between the Left and the Right when it comes to welfare is its amount, duration, structure, and requirements. The Right has no philosophical objection to government income-transfer programs.
4. The Right has failed Americans on education. In the 1980s and 1990s, Republicans called for eliminating the federal Department of Education. But under George W. Bush, when the Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress for over four years, the budget of the Department of Education ballooned to $100 billion even though the Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to spend one penny on education. Instead of separating school from state, most conservatives fully support Pell Grants, federal student loans, Head Start, federal school breakfast and lunch programs, and federal research grants to colleges and universities. The best thing the Right can come up with is another welfare program—educational vouchers.
5. The Right has failed Americans on the drug war. Although the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have anything to do with marijuana, medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, and recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, the Right still fully supports the federal government locking Americans in cages for possessing what it considers to be too much of a plant. And woe be to any American who uses or sells “hard” drugs. Even though the war on drugs is a colossal failure that has clogged the judicial system, unnecessarily swelled prison populations, fostered violence, corrupted law enforcement, eroded civil liberties, and destroyed financial privacy, the Right fully supports it.
6. The Right has failed Americans on health care. Republicans in Congress talked for years about repealing Obamacare. They passed symbolic measures to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) when he was the president. Yet, when they had a Republican in the White House and control of both Houses of Congress and could have actually repealed it, they failed to do so. But this should come as no surprise since Republicans have for years supported Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, the National Institutes of Health, federal laboratories, the FDA, and the Department of Health and Human Services. They even funded America’s largest abortion provider—Planned Parenthood—for decades while they maintained that Republicans alone were pro-life.
7. The Right has failed Americans on the warfare state. To their shame, the Right has been the greatest supporter of bloated military budgets, the U.S. empire of troops and bases that garrison the planet, foreign wars and military adventures, and a foreign policy that is reckless, belligerent, and meddling.
All talk by the Right about the Constitution, limited government, federalism, private property, individual freedom, the private sector, free enterprise, and the free market is just a bunch of hot air. They have failed Americans even when it comes to the very things they profess to believe in.