What are conservatives supposed to think when they elect 240 members to Congress who ran as limited government warriors, only to find a few dozen members actually fighting for those values when it counts? Were they all a bunch of frauds?
Undoubtedly, there are many Republicans in Congress who never were conservatives from day one or who never understood the true meaning of conservatism when they ran for Congress. That probably accounts for the majority of the wayward members in varying degrees.
However, there are a number of drifters who genuinely enter their freshman year as insurgent conservatives – members who believe that GOP leadership is just as much of the problem as Democrats. But then something happens. They meet some of these establishment veterans and become part of a conference. Far from being the devil that some conservatives think he is, John Boehner is actually a very decent likable man. Unlike other members of leadership, he is not seeking to remake the party. Heck, you certainly can’t accuse this chain-smoking Ohioan from a family of 12 siblings of being a cocktail circuit country-clubber. He is just too much a part of the status quo and fears confrontation too much to be an effective leader. That does not negate his ability to connect even with the most combative conservatives.
So when this very amicable party leader walks into a freshman’s office and shows himself not to be the enemy, things begin to change. Remember that many of our guys are truly citizen legislators and lack the resources to pump money into their campaigns. Many of them are not prolific fundraisers. Perforce, when the party leader extends that friendly welcome and helps him pay off his campaign debt, he begins to like the guy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It’s really simple, folks. Everything boils down to Obamacare.
Do we really believe that Obamacare will make private health insurance unaffordable?
Do we really believe Obamacare will bankrupt the nation and relegate the next generation of Americans to a dimmer future of less freedom and opportunity?
Do we really believe Obamacare will create incorrigible dependency?
Dow we really believe that Obamacare will lead to a deterioration of healthcare services and rationed care?
Are we really serious about balancing the budget and reforming entitlements?
If the answer to the aforementioned questions is a resounding yes, which is presumably the case for all conservatives, then the following statements from House conservatives regarding funding Obamacare in the upcoming budget CR are incomprehensible: (via The Hill)
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the power players at American Crossroads are financing a new group to help fund candidates in the primaries who oppose conservatives. In light of their smashing success electing candidates like Tommy Thompson, Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg, George Allen, Heather Wilson, and Linda Lingle, they will expand their roadshow into the primaries during the next election cycle in search of the next candidate who is indistinguishable from his/her Democrat opponent.
In an Orwellian attempt to obfuscate their agenda, they will be naming their PAC “the Conservative Victory Project.” They will never tell you how they plan to achieve conservative victory without running conservative candidates.
As I solicit feedback from grassroots Republicans throughout the country in preparation for the 2014 elections, I’m struck by the deep sense of pain and disquiet that has penetrated the very core of our base. They are witnessing a rogue regime that is dismantling every aspect of this country they love so dearly – one limb at a time. They watch helplessly as a malevolent administration, which harbors no respect for our Founders and Constitution, works to destroy our free markets, saddles our children with incorrigible debt, infringes upon our liberties, assaults our family values, erases our borders, appeases our enemies, and abrogates the rule of law. Hence, they see the demise of our Republic, with only feeble resistance to those engendering the decline.
The values of our party’s base – the values that have made this country what it is today – are being labeled extreme by those who seek to implement their extreme views.
Those of us who believe that the government doesn’t have the right to redistribute wealth are lampooned as greedy.
Those of us who seek to enforce our immigration laws are labeled as bigots.
Those of us who protest the ever officious government interventions into every aspect of our personal lives and businesses are ignored.
Those of us who don’t want our human rights violated at airports are considered rabble-rousers.
Those of us who want to retain our Second Amendment rights are being challenged by an administration that has abused firearms by selling them to drug cartels via an agency that was never brought to justice for Waco and Ruby Ridge.
Those of us who abide by the laws of the land – even those that are of dubious constitutionality – are helpless in preventing a rogue administration thwart the legal checks and balanced in its pursuit of an agenda that is foreign to our Republic.
Millions of Republican voters feel disenfranchised and voiceless as the pale-pastel figures in the party rise to the top levels of power. All they want is one party that is willing to take a stand and articulate their values – values which were considered commonsense until recent years.
Over the past few election cycles, a number of us have worked hard to find those few but strong voices in the wilderness. We have successfully elected people like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and a number of congressmen who are committed to fighting for the values of our Republic. Yet, the old power players within the party will not go silently. They obdurately seek to quell any effort to restore the Republican Party as an effective voice for the values of our Republic.
Yes, it is not enough to merely nominate a conservative; we must also find candidates who are savvy, articulate, and have the organization to go the distance. But the minute we choose a candidate who is not conservative, we lose the election before a single vote is cast. Voters are attracted to a show of force and decisiveness; we will certainly never change hearts and minds if we nominate candidates who are indistinguishable from Democrats.
We are looking for one party that is willing to fight for the restoration of our Republic, not jettison every tenet of our Constitution under the false allurement of electoral success. One by one, people like Karl Rove seek to crush another sacred belief of the conservative base. All social issues? Gone. Enforcement before amnesty? No way. Stay strong on taxes? Forget about it. Fight Obamacare? That’s a done deal.
Folks, we must win back the soul of the Republican Party before we can effect any positive change. For my part, I’ll be working overtime through the Madison Project Majority PAC to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of strong voices for liberty. There are a number of other great conservative leaders, such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, who will do the same.
In this battle, we must distinguish friend from foe. It is a battle we did not initiate, but it is one we must win.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Videos
Most of our elected Republican leaders are filled with the ranks of milquetoast double-talkers who stand for nothing. It’s refreshing to watch our few conservative champions in action. Here are two videos of two different conservatives who excelled yesterday in their duties. Rand Paul showed the senior senators how to grill Hilliary on Benghazi and Rep. Tom McClintock eloquently deracinated the entire premise of the House-passed debt ceiling plan.
This is what we are looking is prospective candidates this year.
Monday, January 21st, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt
Republicans came into their annual retreat at Williamsburg, Virginia looking for a starting point in the upcoming debt and budget battles. It appears that they have emerged from the retreat with a full blown plan.
They will pass a bill this week that will suspend the debt ceiling law until May 18. The debt limit increase will be tied to a requirement that the Senate passes a budget – with the threat of cutting off pay for senators in the event they fail to come through with one by April 15. Note that there is no requirement that the Senate pass a budget that balances in 10 years, just that they pass any budget.
The underlying rationale behind this strategy is to defer the debt ceiling fight until after the FY 2013 CR is dealt with and the FY 2014 budgets are formulated. The idea is that the House would unite behind a pro-active budget/debt plan in March from which they would harness as their demand for any long-term debt ceiling increase in mid-April.
What sort of budget plan would Republicans formulate in March? According to a joint letter by five current and former chairmen of the Republican Study Committee, who are all supporting this plan, “the House will work to put the country on the path to a balanced budget in 10 years. House leadership also agreed to stand by the $974 billion discretionary number that is part of the sequestration process.”
If Republicans would truly use this short-term extension as an opportunity to formulate a balanced budget from which to use as any future demand for raising the debt ceiling, it’s a great deal. But please forgive me for feeling a bit like Moses during his interaction with Pharaoh during the plagues. After incurring the wrath of God for obdurately reneging on his promise to let the Jews out of Egypt, Pharaoh finally confessed his sins during the seventh plague and promised to let them go. Moses agreed to suspend the hail, but he was not fooled after 7 times. “But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God [Exodus 9, 30].”
With much drama and suspense, John Boehner was reelected as Speaker of the House today by the slimmest of margins. The entire focus of the vote was centered on the brewing conservative rebellion. Ultimately, only 12 Republicans either declined to vote or voted for someone other than Boehner (Garrett, Bachmann, and Blackburn initially declined to vote, but voted for Boehner upon the second call), just shy of the requisite number to force a second vote.
It takes enormous courage to publicly stand up and oppose the Speaker of your own party. It required even more courage for freshmen like Tom Massie, Ted Yoho, and Jim Bridenstine to vote against Boehner. The abstentions of Mick Mulvaney and Raul Labrador were particularly powerful and symbolic. When leadership tossed off a couple of conservatives from committee assignments, they pointed to the promotions of Mick Mulvaney and Raul Labrador (to the Financial Services and Judiciary Committees) as proof that there was no purge. It’s heartening to see that these guys did not take the bait and did not allow leadership to drive a wedge between conservatives.
We salute all those who had the courage to voice their opposition.
With that said, this is all a red herring. This was never about Boehner or those who would vote for him. There is no doubt that there are at least 30-35 solid conservatives who would have rather voted for someone else, if presented with a viable option. There is also no doubt that conservatives have nothing near a majority in the conference to elect a conservative Speaker. There is a systemic problem in the Republican Party. As Erick Erickson has pointed out, Cantor, McCarthy, and McMorris-Rodgers are probably worse than Boehner. Also, the entire structure of committee chairmen, leadership posts, and party spokesmen are filled with the ranks of those who don’t believe in conservatism, are incapable of articulating it, or too scared to pursue it. The majority of the conference stands with them.
Monday, December 10th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, News
The purge of conservatives from key committees last week was not a natural disaster. It was perpetrated by leadership with the help of the rest of the 31 members on the Steering Committee. They all need to hear from us.
Let’s take a step back and analyze what occurred last week. It is not a normal occurrence for incumbent members in good standing to be thrown off their committees without warning. It’s certainly not normal for a top finance expert (David Schweikert) to be thrown off the Financial Services Committee or a top agriculture expert from a major farming district (Tim Huelskamp) to be tossed from the Agriculture Committee.
With that said, it is quite stupefying that almost none of the members have spoken out against the purge. After all, there were 31 members in the room when it happened. Would they like to divulge how they voted? Would they be willing to go on record as supporting the big government litmus test to sit on certain committees? Are they willing to tell us which votes were scored on the magical leadership scorecard?
Moreover, where are the other freshmen members of the House. Former Rep. Mark Neumann makes the point that the entire freshman class should send a letter to leadership asking that their colleagues be reinstated to their positions. That is what happened when he was thrown off the Appropriations Committee for butting heads with Newt Gingrich.
Tomorrow, the members of the Steering Committee will make their final decisions and conduct the final votes that will determine all of the committee assignments for the 113th Congress. There will be a push to reinstate the members who were deposed of their current assignments on account of their conservative voting records. Each one of these members, especially Paul Ryan, owes it to Republicans to divulge where he/she stands on this issue and how they plan to vote tomorrow. Nobody elected these people to raise the debt limit and to increase taxes. They need to explain why support for what is antithetical to our values should serve as a litmus test for committee assignments.
Make sure these members are held to account. Let us know what they say:
Monday, December 10th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues
We’ve covered Boehner’s purge of conservatives from key committees throughout the week and have been leading the charge against this chicanery (read more at our homepage). Boehner and other GOP leaders have admitted that they kicked off three conservatives from key committees because they did not meet the standards prescribed in a secret scorecard. They have refused to divulge the votes that serve as the litmus test on the scorecard; however, it is clear that they have a lot to do with the debt ceiling and budget battles. Ironically, conservatives are being penalized for voting….as conservatives and not with the Democrats.
Headed into the new week, we must keep up the pressure on leadership and expose their mendacity. This will weaken their ability to cut a deal with Obama and capitulate on the budget crisis. Moreover, the three ousted conservatives – David Schweikert (AZ), Justin Amash (MI), and Tim Huelskamp (KS) – have sent a letter to leadership demanding that they release their scorecard, which was used to remove them from their respective committees.
Here is their letter. Please forward it to everyone you know:
Thursday, December 6th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Yesterday, John Boehner told his conference that he would be watching the voting records of particular members. Those who don’t support his view of Democrat-lite as the party platform will be kicked off their respective committees – just like Huelskamp, Schweikert, and Amash were axed earlier this week.
Boehner and other members of leadership are repeating this mantra that the punishment of those members had nothing to do with “conservative ideology” rather with “voting records.” However, they declined to divulge which votes they were referring to. Presumably, they meant conservative opposition to the debt ceiling deal and some of the spending bills.
With that in mind, let’s engage in a cerebral exercise for a moment. Assuming Boehner has any shred of respect for Republican ideology, we would expect him to banish members who vote to the left of leadership; members who vote with Democrats on key issues. After all, if voting to the right of leadership is tantamount to unforgivable debauchery, voting with Democrats should be a cardinal sin.
Yet, we find the opposite to be true with Boehner’s selective pattern of retribution. Huelskamp, Amash, and Schweikert were thrown off the Budget, Agriculture, and Financial Services committees; there are a number of leftists who voted against leadership but remain on the top 3 committees – Ways and Means, Energy & Commerce, and Appropriations.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Well, that was quick. After denying that conservatives were thrown off committee spots for ideological purposes, Boehner now admitted it in front of his conference, according to The Hill:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned his conference on Wednesday that leaders are “watching” how the rank-and-file vote to determine committee assignments, according to sources in the closed-door meeting.
Boehner addressed the firestorm over the removal of four lawmakers from plum committee assignments at the weekly GOP conference meeting.
According to Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), one of the lawmakers denied a spot on his current committee in the next Congress, Boehner did note “that we [leadership] have punished four members, he claimed that it had nothing to do with their conservative ideology, but had to do with their voting patterns.”
Also removed from committee spots were Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and David Schweikert (Ariz.).
Huelskamp added that Boehner warned GOP lawmakers that “there may be more folks that will be targeted … ‘we’re watching all your votes.”
Oh, so it’s not about ideology; it’s about voting patterns. Hmmmm That’s a funny distinction. So there’s not problem with conservative ideology, as long as you vote to raise the debt ceiling – the very piece of legislation that has gotten up into this mess in the first place. Actually, there is a clever purpose in making this absurd distinction. The Hill continues: