Scott Frantz and I sat down over coffee yesterday morning to discuss our differences about his role in providing Republican support to the Democrats’ gun control bill. I originally drafted a long report on the meeting but really, it boils down to this: Scott performed an act of legislative triage, jettisoning the rights of non-hunters in order to protect hunters from having their guns confiscated. He demanded many concessions [on proposals that in my opinion had no chance of passage] in exchange for delivering Republican votes and when those were met, he capitulated.
Our disagreement is more than one about strategy – he chose to collaborate, I think he should have engaged in some creative guerrilla war tactics, but there is a principle here, even if Frantz doesn’t see it: you don’t appease the enemy and you don’t negotiate when the other side when there’s bad faith on the other side. You should not, in short, emulate Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Democrats rule this state. The only role Republicans serve is as cover for some of the Democrat’s most egregious acts: sweetheart deals with unions, increased taxes, unfunded budgets and pension plans, state control of local zoning and schools and so on, on and on. As the Democrats themselves admit, they don’t listen to Republicans, let alone accede to their proposals, because they don’t have to. So why do Republicans go along with this meaningless charade?
I read a biography of John Adams this winter, and see a striking similarity between the conservatives at the First Congress who resisted a break with England and Frantz and his fellow Republicans attempting to negotiate with a band of thugs who don’t need to and thus won’t concede on any issue. For over a year-and-a-half, the “men of reason” in Philadelphia, lead by Joseph Galloway, forestalled a break with England. They insisted on reaching out to King George, again and again, on sending petitions and worthy men over the Atlantic repeatedly, sure that if the King only knew the truth of the matter he would stop the oppression being inflicted on the colonies in his name. Of course the King was fully aware of what was happening over here – he was directing it, and the petitions went unread, the worthy statesmen unheard. Petitions and reason did no good in 1776 and will do no good now.
As things turned out back then, the firebrands won, beating the largest army in the world by shooting them from trees and never giving up. But there was no way of knowing they’d win when they signed that declaration of independence and each fully expected to be hanged if the war went the other way. They were men of principle, literally willing to have either liberty or death. Our current crop of leaders are the Joseph Galloways of 2013, modernized, but still sure that they can nibble at the edges of the most oppressive of the Democrats’ policies and dictates and keep the game going. Galloway became a loyalist and fled to England. Perhaps our Connecticut Republicans will relocate to Hartford. Will we miss them if they do?