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The Battle For America's Soul Is Playing Out In Washington

The GOP’s struggle to appoint the House speaker is a proxy battle between the Establishment and America First.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

When Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz launched his successful bid to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, he had no idea he was opening a Pandora's box. In the box are two partitions. One contains the Uniparty types - the Democrats, Never Trumpers, military industrial complex, lobbyists - brilliantly described by former President Trump as the Swamp. The other includes politicians to the right who believe in an America First agenda.  

This battle for America's soul is playing out in Washington as the Swamp is mounting an admirable defense at ceding control of the gavel to Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, the co-founder of the Freedom Caucus and a popular leader of the America First movement. And given the decades of experience the Swamp has in winning - look at the forever-rising federal debt - it may have its way again.

The media, being the Swamp's mouthpiece, has skillfully concealed the proxy battle that is taking place.

Clues to the Swamp's confidence were revealed in a New York Times trial balloon story yesterday, following similar reports in Politico last week. The Biden administration was planning to request a whopping $100 billion in "Emergency Assistance" to fund Ukraine (to $60 billion), Israel ($10 billion), and border security and other priorities ($30 billion). In London last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen assured Europe that America would fund Ukraine.

In Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, the United States Constitution is clear regarding appropriating funds for expenditures. 

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

In Article I, Section 7, Clause 1, the Constitution empowers the House as the exclusive body to initiate such expenditures and grants the House the so-called power of the purse.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills."

The Swamp recognized that the above two clauses would severely limit their abilities. So, at the height of the Arab oil crisis in the 1970s, the Nixon resignation, and runaway inflation, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act. With the stroke of a pen, it authorized the president to declare a national emergency, which would immediately uncork 148 new presidential powers outside the purview of Congressional oversight or the judicial review. 

According to President Biden and the Congressional Uniparty forces, the war in Ukraine is a United States national emergency. How could this be when America was not attacked? President Biden did not even seek Congressional authorization for America's involvement in a battle between two nations 4,000 miles away. How could it be an emergency when Biden's best definition of support was to be involved for "as long as it takes?"

Voters in the hinterland would be shocked at such clever manipulation of the statutes and a "we-know-things-better-than-you-do" approach. Americans overwhelmingly said in opinion polls and calls to GOP members that America should stop funding Ukraine. There's not even a House Speaker in charge to bring a spending bill to the floor. 

But this is what the Swamp does. It will push through policies that it likes even if they have little support among the voters. The Swamp wins always, even if its actions are unconstitutional.

It is why Jeff Colgan, a professor of political science at Brown University, finds the average voter's power in America to be "diffused." An avid climate science activist, he lamented in a New York Times piece this week that "in politics, concentrated interests, like rich corporations, have powerful advantages over diffuse interests, like voters, that can distort outcomes and thwart progress." 

Colgan was arguing against the ExxonMobil-Pioneer merger, but the larger point stands. Swamp interests always trump the average voter's interests. The Swamp works 24/7 inside the Beltway, where government decisions are made. Voters are busy tending to work, life, church, and interests in the community. Their only involvement is once every two years at the polling booth. 

This battle for America's soul has been part of Hollywood's political pop culture for decades. In a 1992 comedy classic, "The Distinguished Gentleman," starring Eddie Murphy, a conman is elected to Congress when voters mistake him because of his name. Once in Congress, he discovers all the backroom deals that occur nearly always at the expense of the voter and always enriching the Swamp. 

But things are a bit different now as voters are finally speaking up. A RealClearPolitics analysis showed that the House GOP showed signs of 2024 strength even after McCarthy was removed. Of the top four Republicans running for the GOP presidential nomination, three of them - Trump, DeSantis, and Ramaswamy - oppose Ukraine funding. Only Nikki Haley, boosted by the Swamp, is with the Swamp. 

Recent polls continue to show that Trump could beat Biden next year. The 2024 elections may finally make a significant dent to the Swamp. That is if the Swamp doesn't manipulate electoral processes and outcomes. Remember 2020?

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