Here we go again.  It appears as though Congress and the White House are headed in the direction of another showdown over spending, over having a budget that will allow the government to remain open for business.  As a conservative, there is part of me that has great sympathy for anything done that reduces the size, scope, and cost of government.  There is a part of me that enjoys watching the media scream the world as we know it is coming to an end, but, as was widely proven the last time the government shutdown, watch as most Americans have virtually nothing in their lives changed when a bunch of bureaucrats stay home from the offices where they perform so much mischief.

On the other hand, this conservative has seen the movie more than once.  Each and every time the government has “shutdown,” two things are true.  First, blame is squarely placed on the Republicans.  The mainstream media cannot find their way to anything resembling a fair reporting of the facts.  Most people would agree compromise involves both sides giving in on a variety of items.  However, to many in the media, the definition of compromise is a Republican agreeing 100 percent with the Democrats.  Nothing akin to a consistent standard for this sort of reporting.  One time, only a “clean” bill (without amendments, especially amendments not directly connected to the budget) is in keeping with doing the right thing.  The next time, understanding Democrats won an election means the bill does not have to be “clean” and that Republicans should go along with various amendments.

Second, this reporting of events has a real impact.  That impact is that the Republican brand is tarnished and Republican candidates at all levels suffer negative consequences.  This reality is beyond debate or argument.  The data following every “shutdown” is clear and convincing to anyone looking at it.  That later in the election cycle Democrats made even bigger mistakes that turned the tide back in our direction does not change the data or provide the basis to say it would be okay to do it again.

Is this right?  Is this fair?  No, it is not.  It is nothing new to define politics as the art of the possible.  Is it possible that Republicans can successfully force President Obama to “defund Planned Parenthood?”  No, it is not possible.  His promise to veto any legislation containing that element is hardly empty.

The one thing we know is that President Obama has never, not one time, stood up to his political base over anything the base considered important.  And, if we know anything else, we know the national Democratic Party thinks abortion is simply women exercising their rights.  The very same people who love to argue that science should rule the roost have no trouble whatsoever in pretending that what every serious medical and scientist in the world knows to be life is being killed.  That would be known as an inconvenient truth liberals simply choose to ignore.

So, what is it that Republicans should do?  What is really worth a fight?  In the instance of Planned Parenthood, their money they receive is already out the door.  For now, there actually is nothing to defund.  We can take that stand, make it known we will fight at every turn to prevent federal dollars going to Planned Parenthood, but there is nothing immediate to any of this.  It is fine to present the President a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.  It is not fine to do this in a timeframe where the operations of the government are in play.

No less a person that Carol Tobias, the President of National Right to Life, has openly argued against doing anything that would shutdown the government.  I believe we can comfortably say that Carol Tobias is a strong advocate for life.  She need not fear being attacked as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) or a squish, unless somebody takes a complete leave of their senses.  Carol Tobias is right.  Shutting down the government in what would be an empty gesture will only hurt the long-term prospects of any Republican being elected the next President of the United States.  She is also right that only by electing a pro-life President will anything change on this score.

It is time for the grandstanding to cease.  It is time for the adults in the room to be heard and for them to be followed.  It is time for the leadership of John Boehner in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate to be respected, not ridiculed for being unable to impose our views on all manner of topics.

We hear a variety of conservatives, some elected, some in the media, complain that after winning control of the House and Senate, Republicans should simply just do this, that, or the other.  For those who have any understanding of how government actually works, what powers the Executive branch enjoys, what options the minority party in Congress (most especially in the Senate) have, it is nothing less than cynical and misleading to pretend we can just dictate policy.  That, whether the screamers like it or not, is not reality.  It is not what the Constitution that many love to cite requires and allows.

America overall is a fairly evenly divided country.  Republicans and Democrats are separated by a wide divide on most of the critical issues facing the country today.  Unfortunately for conservatives and Republicans, the inherent powers of the Executive allow the President to arbitrarily impose far more on the country than a closely divided Congress will ever be able to do.

My plea is simple.  Find a way to put something before the President that is as consistent with our core principles as is humanly possible, while at the same time doing it in a fashion that avoids any shutdown of the government.  The stakes are too high.