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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 27 Jul 2011 07:50 pm

Conservatives Need the RSC — and Must Protect It

UPDATE JULY 28! More recent Erick Erickson report: “Speaker Boehner has come out forcefully and denied that he is a part of or approves of redistricting Jim Jordan out of office.”

RedState chief Erick Erickson asks this afternoon in his “Crossing a Line and Overreaching” – – Consider this complete overreach by John Boehner and possibly the beginning of the end of his Speakership. Allegedly, Boehner has explicitly blessed this plan. The plan is to redistrict RSC Chairman Jim Jordan, a fellow Ohioan, out of his congressional district as punishment for defying Boehner. If he hasn’t or doesn’t support it, Boehner needs to get out there damn quick today. Redistricting may be a price Jordan will have to pay, but Boehner will have to pay a price as well. As one prominent outside conservative emailed, followed by several others in separate emails, ‘This is war.'”

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Conservatives Need the RSC — and Must Protect It


Today in Politico John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman in their “GOPers chant ‘fire him’ at staffer” told of a real hit on the Republican Study Committee — the conservative conscience of the House GOP.

“House Republicans on Wednesday morning were calling for the firing of Republican Study Committee staffers after they were caught sending e-mails to conservative groups urging them to pressure GOP lawmakers to vote against a debt proposal from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Infuriated by the e-mails from Paul Teller, the executive director of the RSC, and other staffers, members started chanting ‘Fire him, fire him!’ while Teller stood silently at a closed-door meetings of House Republicans.
‘It was an unbelievable moment, said one GOP insider. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.'”

In our view, this was likely an orchestrated attack, because the RSC has been particularly effective in chilling Speaker John Boehner’s own passion for deals rather than solutions.

Does anyone seriously believe that the Speaker’s Establishment does not work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and his other “K Street” allies in coordinating support for the Speaker’s own initiatives and in trying to turn around wavering members?

And GOP “leadership” surrogates can be quite without either taste or judgment.  Here is a sample from March —

“One GOP aide unloaded on the conservatives, offering a more colorful view privately held by many other Republicans.

‘These people aren’t thinking clearly. Their logic doesn’t pan out. They have NO plan. What concessions were they going to get if it failed? They were going to shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood?’ the source said, ‘It was totally reactionary. These people got elected to lead. Instead they got jerked around by the political equivalent of music critics. If these people knew anything about governing, they’d be in Congress, not lobbing bombs from the cheap seats and sending out fundraising emails.'” (My underscoring.)

Former RSC top staffer Russ Vought explains how it all works (RedState) in his “Message to RSC Members: Get in or Get Out” —

“The RSC is the conservative movement in the House of Representatives. It is not an arm of the elected House Leadership. It is not a cheerleader of everything that Leadership is doing. In fact, its job is to push Leadership as far to the right as is possible and flat out oppose it when necessary. As a result, Leadership often has a rocky relationship with whoever is the Chairman of the RSC because he or she is a political counterweight on whatever they are trying to do.

Now let me add a dynamic to the picture. A lot of—let’s be generous here—casually conservative Members of Congress like to join the RSC in order to be perceived back home as a 100% winger, but in reality, these Members are in the ‘Just Happy to Be Here’ Caucus. They don’t fight, they often take bad votes if their Leadership wants them to, and when the RSC Chairman decides to fight, they often make his or her life absolutely miserable. Some threaten to quit the RSC. It is part of the territory.

In spite of all that abuse, and in spite of being from Ohio as Speaker Boehner is, Jim Jordan is proving to be one of the most effective Chairman in the history of the RSC. I know because I’ve worked for some of the others. Instead of being raked over the coals, he should be honored as a patriot. (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Tea Partyers in the home districts of complaining RSC members listed in the Politico post should have a heart-to-heart talk with them.

A bit of perspective. In this writer’s many years of service on the professional staff of the Congress, I have never heard members “chanting ‘fire him, fire him’ or chanting anything else in any Congressional meeting.

I thought the report, if accurate, was chilling. It brought to mind a mob mentality inappropriate for ordinary Americans, but especially so for United States Representatives.

In the larger picture, Tea Partyers and grass-roots conservatives cannot afford to let the RSC be neutered.The RSC is our regular opening into the details of what is scheduled for the House floor, and what the genuine conservative leaders in the House are planning and doing.

We have warned from time to time against the Beltway GOP Establishment going too far and starting a chain of breakaway events they cannot control.  These are just the times when that GOP Establishment should tread with much care.

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