David Shephard published a piece here at TBE this past evening about the House Freedom Caucus and “Ah, Now I know why Trump Voters Hate Conservatives.” Well, that title certainly promises entertainment, if nothing else. In light of recent events, let’s have ourselves a fisking at Mr. Shephard’s expense, shall we?
First let me say that I am a conservative,…
Yeah, that’s what they all say.
…and I didn’t vote for Trump in the primaries. I did vote for him in the general election. However, I think I now understand why Trump voters don’t like conservatives.
Indeed, Mr. Shephard, by all means… elucidate the matter for us dull-witted retrograde troglodytes.
Yesterday, the Ryan-Trump ACA repeal and replacement bill went down to defeat in large part due to opposition from the so-called House Freedom Caucus. This is a group of 40 some conservative members of the House of Representatives.
‘so-called’… There’s the red flag right there.
The HFC is a group of well-meaning members, and I believe they are conservative, but they were never cut out to be legislators. They belong at think tanks where they can do studies and write white papers, give speeches, organize policy luncheons and other such non-productive activities.
Is that so? Based on the records of its members, the House Freedom Caucus seems to be the home of nearly every Republican in the House of Representatives who is actually driven by principle. (More on principle later). I wouldn’t describe every one of its members that way, but outside of Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04) and perhaps one or two others, you can’t find a principled, reliable conservative in the House Republican Caucus that isn’t a member of the HFC.
They don’t have the ability to affect policy, or to govern or persuade. They can only talk, pontificate, and oppose. While I philosophically agree with much of what the Freedom Caucus believes, I think mostly their remaining in Congress is a waste of a desk and a chair. Honestly, do you think the likes of Rep. Louie Gohmert could get anything done in Congress?
It certainly seems like they have the ability to influence legislation, and hold less principled members, and even House ‘leadership’ accountable. Please pick up the white courtesy phone, Mr. John Boehner. Judging from this statement, it seems Mr. Shephard would like to see the HFC gone, so that centrist and/or ideology-free Republicans can get back to spouting conservative rhetoric they don’t believe a word of, then get to the House floor and play the part of Fabian delayers on the road to social democracy. They have a long way to go to match the devotion of a committed, consistent conservative like Rep. Gohmert.
The Trump voter is a very different type of person.
You can say THAT again.
The Trump voter works for a living, has responsibilities, and must produce results. They don’t work in politics, rather they make and build things. They have no interest in going to Federalist Society luncheons, or Heritage Foundation seminars.
Wow, insulting not only the members of the House Freedom Caucus, but also millions of conservatives and libertarians who support them. Quality. I follow the activities of several HFC members pretty closely, including the Old Dominion’s own Dave Brat, and I can tell you they do a lot more than your average go-along-to-get-along member. Justin Amash (R-MI-03) until very recently had by far the longest streak without a single missed vote in the House. He and Massie often prevent the House from acting without a quorum to pass unpopular bills in the dead of night in a near-empty chamber. When Mr. Shephard’s favorite House member does half as much to advance liberty and defend the Constitution as those gentlemen, then perhaps he will have room to throw these sorts of stones.
The Trump voter wants to get things done. They want results that will improve our country. The Ryan-Trump plan would have improved our healthcare system and its passage would have given a boost to the economy. But the Freedom Caucus would not go along. They have a Walter Mitty-like fantasy for the perfect bill, which of course won’t pass. No matter…they will stick with the elusive perfect bill.
The Trump voter, for the most part, is driven by emotion rather than logic. Trump, to his credit, seized on the undercurrent of frustration with business as usual in Washington, and rode it, against all expectations, including mine, to the White House. But let us not kid ourselves, Trump has little idea, even from moment to moment, of what he actually wants to ‘get done’. All he is interested in is ‘winning.’ He is an ideologically unmoored populist.
Steve Bannon, his chief political guru, has little ideological compass himself, and lacks the depth of knowledge to develop one. He somehow sits on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, but regularly has to question staff on publicly available data about military, political, and socioeconomic realities on every topic. “Let me Google that for you” was invented for people like Bannon. And this is the guy who had the unmitigated gall to tell House conservatives in a meeting this past week “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.” This administration will never be an effective leader for conservative principles as it stands right now.
As to the “Ryan-Trump” plan, it was riddled with problems, starting with the fact that it retreated from the promise of full repeal. Exacerbating it, as detailed previously here on TBE, was a laundry list of statist provisions, not the least of which was yet another entitlement created by Republicans. Paul Ryan’s centrist pals at the American Action Network ran attack ads against HFC members opposing it, and hilariously, ran ads thanking centrist members like Barbara Comstock for its passage AFTER the bill had failed. But, moving on…
The Freedom Caucus delusions remind me of the Great Gatsby line:
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning —
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Honestly, if the members of the Freedom Caucus were able to remain in Congress for the next hundred years they still would not be able to pass any significant pieces of legislation.
But no matter at least they can say they kept their principles.
Well played, Mr. Shepherd. You’ve cut these conservatives down to size. How dare they stand on principle. It’s certainly not possible to pass a clean ACA repeal bill and get it to the President’s desk. That could never… what? It happened? No! You don’t say.
Let this be a lesson, conservatives. The type of Republican Mr. Shephard seems to be a fan of appears to be a complete fraud. They’ll go along with a conservative agenda, so long as they know it has no chance of becoming law. They’re eager to absorb media attention, volunteer and donor support, and accolades from conservatives, but they have no intention of ever doing anything to roll back the leviathan state the left has constructed over the last century, or of advancing conservative principles in the slightest, as Joe Barton admitted point blank!
Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Joe Barton, and all the rest like them are frauds. Liars. It is an act of supreme moral and political cowardice to purposely avoid obvious avenues of advancing conservative principles, after swearing fealty over and over to them, and getting elected on promises of enacting them, and then present a binary choice between the leftist status quo, and a big government Republican ‘alternative.’
Mr. Shephard forgets one common thread among the committed conservatives inside the HFC and out, and their millions of conservative and libertarian supporters: We can spot a phony.
If Mr. Shephard, or any of the politicians he deems superior to the members of the House Freedom Caucus, take issue, all they have to do is disprove this thesis. Pass a clean ACA repeal, and only then have the argument over what, if anything to, ‘replace’ it with. Fail to do so, and history will know them as no proponents of conservatism, liberty, federalism, or fiscal responsibility. The game is up. We see you.