Avoid the kumbaya temptation
Nov. 4 was a national vote of no confidence in Barack Obama. Had a British prime minister received a vote like this, he would have resigned by now.
The one issue on which all Republicans agreed, and all ran, was the rejection of Obama. Democrats, too, were conceding that this election was about Obama.
But some pundits are claiming that America voted for an “end to gridlock” and a new era of compromise and conciliation.
How so? If the American people truly were saying that, why did they vote to turn the Senate over to Mitch McConnell? Why did they vote to send more Republicans to strengthen the hand of John Boehner and those in the House who had supposedly “shut down” the government?
What Republicans are hearing now is the siren song of the Beltway elite that just got its clock cleaned, an elite that revels in Republican defeats but is ever at hand to give guidance and counsel to Republicans when they win.
And that counsel is always the same: Time has come to end gridlock and move forward.
Consider several areas where the kumbaya temptation is strongest.
The first is the rising clamor from corporate America for the newly empowered Republicans to grant Obama fast-track authority and support his Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Fast track would be a unilateral surrender of congressional authority, yielding all power to amend trade treaties to Obama and leaving Congress with a yes or no vote on whatever treaty he brings home.
This would be a Republican ratification of the policies of Bush I and Bush II that produced $10 trillion in trade deficits, hollowed out our manufacturing base and sent abroad the jobs of millions of Reagan Democrats.
Immigration reform is a second area where the GOP is being urged, even by some of its own, to compromise. In return for Obama agreeing to improve border security, Republicans will be asked to go along with amnesty for millions here illegally.
Is the nation demanding amnesty? If not, then who is? Answer: corporate America, Obama, La Raza and the editorial pages of newspapers that routinely brand Republicans as xenophobic bigots.
Republicans should pass a stand-alone border-security bill, then dare Senate Democrats to filibuster it and dare the president to veto it.
A third temptation will be Obama’s request for Congress to formally authorize the war he has begun in Syria and Iraq. If the GOP signs on, the party will own that war going into 2016, as it owned the Iraq war going into 2006, when it lost both houses of Congress.
That ISIS is brutal, barbaric and anti-American is undeniable. But its occupation of northern Syria and western Iraq is the problem primarily of Syria and Iraq, and their neighbors in Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Kurdistan, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Before succumbing to the kumbaya temptation, Republicans should ask themselves not how to find common ground with Obama, but how to get America out of this Slough of Despond.
And anyone who thinks last Tuesday was a call to compromise with Obama has either an ax to grind or a serious hearing problem.
Pat Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”