Don't take the bait

Mar 27 2015

With the first quarter of 2015 nearly complete, and as we enter a two-week congressional recess, many on Capitol Hill are now asking – or will soon ask – what’s next?

For congressional Democrats, past is almost certain to be prologue. Emboldened by their most recent filibuster triumph – in which Senate Democrats sided with the abortion lobby over victims of human trafficking – they are unlikely to abandon the course forged over the past three months: grind Congress to a halt, by whatever means necessary, and then blame Republicans for inaction.

Meanwhile, President Obama shows no sign of rediscovering the constitutional limits of the Executive that he so passionately defended as a Senator. Indeed, in a recent interview the president pledged to continue advancing progressive policies, “by hook or by crook,” during the final two years of his presidency.

Many on the Right will be tempted to see this as just the latest iteration of the president’s “pen and phone” approach to politics. But this misses the forest for the trees.

In truth, President Obama’s “by hook or by crook” affirmations – and the actions that will likely follow – are the expression of a lame-duck president who is aware of his increasing irrelevancy in domestic affairs and who recognizes the political value in distracting congressional Republicans from performing their legislative duties.

Seen in this light – as tactical provocations and calculated cries for attention – the proper response from conservatives is painfully simple: ignore him. Don’t take the bait.

When necessary, defend the rule of law and guard the powers of Congress. But whenever possible, use those powers to advance a conservative reform agenda that addresses the needs and challenges of working and middle class Americans.

What’s next for conservatives should not be another battle with the president – it should be a concerted effort to fix broken government and put it back to work for the American people.