Why Can’t Republicans Whip It Good?

When you’re a member of the minority party in Congress, you can say what you want, but you can’t actually do anything. Politically that has its advantages.

You can promise to build the wall, take on the Chinese Communist Party and investigate their partner in crime Hunter Biden, even promise to stop risking American blood and treasure in pointless foreign wars. As inflation rises and American’s pocketbooks tighten—you can tell voters everything would be different if only they’d voted differently two years ago.

But, at the end of the day everyone knows Republicans can’t really really do anything because Speaker Pelosi or Majority Leader Schumer will put a stop to it. They can repeat “Drain the swamp!” ad nauseam when Democrats control the swamp because they know it’s safe to say it.

This is about to change for Republicans, however. In a few months House Republicans will almost certainly regain control of that chamber. Whether it’s by six or by 46 seats, it’s a really good bet that Republicans will be in the majority after November 8. 

Their first test will take place after the midterms when both parties elect their leaders during the lame-duck session. This is where the rubber should meet the proverbial road. It’s a given that Kevin McCarthy will be speaker of the House and Steve Scalise House majority leader. 

But the majority whip position, the third ranking House Republican responsible for convincing the conference how to vote, is going to be a free-for-all. Whoever fills it will say a lot about the direction of the GOP going forward. 

Right now, NRCC Tom Emmer is campaigning for the job, and according to many accounts, he has significant support including from the party’s supposed conservative flank.

So since Emmer is running to direct the entire House Republican conferences’ votes, it’s worth asking: how has he voted in the past? It turns out his voting record for conservative, America First types, is highly problematic.

Just a few months ago Emmer voted to legalize gay marriage. He’s voted to block Trump’s transgender military ban and voted on four separate occasions in favor of sexual orientation and gender identity protections for government contractors. Juxtapose that with House Republicans promising to combat the far-Left’s cultural insanity and prevent girls from being forced to compete against biological males.

Who should we believe? Conservatives who are fighting tough political battles to stand for principles in spite of the cost? Or political hacks like Emmer who will say anything to gain power and then stick a shiv in those who enabled their victory (in this case, conservatives and America First advocates)? Majority Whip Emmer would have the House GOP prioritizing “marriage equality,” while standing by and watching as “female” Marines with Adam’s apples march past and religious hospitals are forced to perform mastectomies on pre-teen girls. 

Republicans like to talk about Biden’s border crisis and their commitment to border security. Again, all talk while the party is in the minority is cheap. Even though some will try to persuade you that if you squint just right they are the second coming of Donald J. Trump, the truth is something else. The good news, in some ways, about Emmer is that he is at least not one of those: he actually cosponsored a bill to increase legal immigration and another bill that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses. So there’s no mistaking what he is.

Again, Emmer isn’t just any rank-and-file moderate Republican: Emmer is a serious contender for overseeing House Republican votes next Congress. How could a conservative justify entrusting this man with one of the most consequential jobs in the Congress?

It’s not just Emmer’s voting record that’s concerning, his campaign to retake the majority sounds a lot like Mitch McConnell’s. He refused to support Liz Cheney’s opponent, Harriet Hageman, even after Cheney was censured by the extremely moderate RNC. He’s warned Republican candidates never to mention President Trump’s name, and he’s ignored issues that get Republican voters to the polls—like immigration and crime—and stuck to platitudes about reducing inflation. Of course, it’s true that Democrats are responsible for inflation. But Democrats aren’t really pro-inflation. But they are for sure pro-crime and pro-illegal immigration and a Republican like Emmer has nothing to say about that.

Emmer’s failure to campaign as a true alternative to the past two years of catastrophic Democratic control has had predictable results. He’s lost winnable elections in Alaska and New York, and Republicans have slipped four points on the generic ballot since June. Even with legitimate “Likely Voter” polls, Republicans are nowhere near where they should be. Beating today’s Democratic Party shouldn’t be difficult, but Tom Emmer hasn’t been able to convince voters he’s much different.

Republicans are probably going to win anyway in November, thanks to their inept and malicious opponents. But if they choose Tom Emmer as their whip, will it really matter? 

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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