The Purity-for-Profit GOP Leading a Reign of Error

 

Marie Antoinette's execution in 1793 at the Place de la Révolution.The French Revolution began with disaffected aristocrats wanting to reform their stodgy, inflexible political system. If only King Louis XVI would accept a more liberal Constitutional Monarchy, France could enter into a bright new future.

Once the revolution was underway, a group of the bourgeoisie decided these modest goals weren’t progressive enough, so they formed the Jacobin Club to steer the reforms further to the Left.

When the king was deposed, a group of Jacobins decided the club itself wasn’t progressive enough. They brought in the lower classes and formed the Montagnards to steer the movement even further to the Left.

The ascendant left empowered Maximilien Robespierre to launch the Reign of Terror, but a group of Montagnards decided he still wasn’t progressive enough. They formed the Hébertists to steer the nation further to the Left still.

In American politics, a similar dynamic is taking place, this time from the supposed right:

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has been able to count on his Facebook page for stalwart support during his long-running battle with the House Republican leadership, including a successful effort to oust House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

“Keep up the great work,” read a comment posted last week. “We the people thank you for ridding us of John Boehner!”

But in recent days, the tone of the comments on Meadows’s page, and those of the other members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, have changed significantly.

“You truly should be ashamed,” one commenter wrote Thursday. “The people in the caucus will be held responsible come election day.”

“You should all be replaced,” a critic told Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.). Another called Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho), one of the most persistent thorns in Boehner’s side, “a RINO establishment lap dog” and “another go-along to get along phony who will GLADLY step on the throats of the Conservative electorate.”

I say “supposed right” because many voices attempting to enforce purity on the House GOP are flirting with a big government presidential candidate. While screams of “RINO” and “sell-out” rise from the angriest corners of the Internet and talk radio, Donald Trump is sticking it to the squishes by promoting campaign finance reform, defending Medicare and Social Security, praising burkas, attacking the Christianity of his rivals, and subtly walking back his stand on immigration.

Today, a leading pro-Trump website hit the House Freedom Caucus for being establishment stooges. The article specifically attacks Reps. Mulvaney, Labrador, Amash, Jorden and Meadows; those congressmen have Liberty Scores ranging from 93 to 96 percent.

And if my inbox full of donation pleas is any guide, several political groups and conservative personalities have learned that the more shrill their cries for the heads of party leaders, the more money they make. As the purity-for-profit tumbrels roll down Pennsylvania Avenue, remember that every stroke of the guillotine leads to a smaller and meaner party.

A political movement waging a continuous reign of terror against its most loyal members is a movement doomed. It appears that many “conservatives” are so used to being against things, they no longer know what they’re for.

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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    That’s a pretty strong accusation. I suspect you’ll need to wear your iron collared shirt for a while.

    • #1
  2. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    If the source of this is facebook we can probably pause and take a breath for a moment considering that isn’t exactly a bastion of intellectually rigorous comment generation on politician’s profiles.

    The FC isn’t very good at coherent communication so a lot of people are painting those members with their own expectations.

    • #2
  3. Nyadnar17 Inactive
    Nyadnar17
    @Nyadnar17

    Its blowing my mind how many people on our side can’t tell the difference between someone they disagree with and a political enemy.

    • #3
  4. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    I was thinking about that this morning when I was reading the Joel Gehrke piece on NRO:

    In the meeting Wednesday, a “very animated” Huelskamp accused Ryan of punishing him for casting a principled vote against Ryan’s budget. Ryan, who signaled a willingness to have Huelskamp restored to the Agriculture Committee from which he’d also been removed, argued successfully that there were extraordinary reasons for his ouster from the budget panel. “You don’t really want to go into it in front of everybody,” Ryan warned, according to the first HFC member.

    As the conversation unfolded, according to several HFC members, Ryan persuaded the caucus that Huelskamp had earned his punishment. “Ryan said, ‘Listen, you were sending letters to your district that were criticizing me about the budget and how “the chairman had broken his promise” and things like that,’” a third HFC member recalls. “‘If you want to talk about something within the committee, that’s great, but if you’re going to go out to your district and say those things, I think that’s wrong.’”

    That was an apparent allusion to Huelskamp’s rumored refusal to cooperate with Ryan during the drafting of the budget. “Ryan went to Huelskamp and said, ‘Ok, you don’t like this budget, fine, what can I do to get you [involved in the process]?’ And Huelskamp replied, ‘That’s not my job,’” says a former House GOP aide familiar with that year’s budget process.

    • #4
  5. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: It appears that many “conservatives” are so used to being against things, they no longer know what they’re for.

    Bingo!

    • #5
  6. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Nyadnar17:Its blowing my mind how many people on our side can’t tell the difference between someone they disagree with and a political enemy.

    The people we disagree with occasionally don’t do much to distinguish themselves from our enemies.

    • #6
  7. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    I’m not sure what the appropriate word to describe this sort of accusation is, but folderol will do (because honestly how often do I get to use such a highfalutin word?).

    The idea that people opposed to Boehner and/or Ryan are the same as those that cut Louis XVI’s head off is exaggeration of the worst sort. John Boehner had an idea about how the House should work: he put legislation forth and then the House voted for whatever he dug up.

    The House Freedom Caucus, that eeeeeeeevil group of right-wing Trump supporters in the House, egged on by their eeeeeeeevil constituents wanted a return to regular order. My God – bills coming up through committee? Amendments being offered and argued on the House floor? Sacre bleu! Flog those impertinent Jacobins from the floor of the Third Estate lest we have bread riots!

    And suddenly it’s terrifying that someone is upset on the internet?

    It’s perfectly acceptable for the constituents of a congressman to be upset with their representative’s votes and express that opinion, it doesn’t mean we’re going to have a Terror ripping through the streets of Washington D.C. – although there are times…

    Finally there are plenty of scam PAC’s out there long on promises and short on delivery: Right to Rise comes to mind immediately!

    Of course they play on emotions – that’s what con men do. If they appealed to intellect they’d be political commentators or stock analysts.

    • #7
  8. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    I cannot speak for the House at this point, but it has been noted that bills go from the House to the (Republican) Senate, to die.  Many of those bills were conservative enough so that someone like me would think of them as conservative.

    Perhaps Boehner’s resignation was questionable, but perhaps the Senate needs a treatment?

    • #8
  9. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Rage Caucus.

    • #9
  10. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:

    Nyadnar17:Its blowing my mind how many people on our side can’t tell the difference between someone they disagree with and a political enemy.

    The people we disagree with occasionally don’t do much to distinguish themselves from our enemies.

    Only if you consider differences in tactics to be the same thing as differences in policy.

    • #10
  11. Mister Magic Inactive
    Mister Magic
    @MisterMagic

    Populists gotta populist; there’s a reason why they often refer to running the politicians outta town with “torches and pitchforks”

    • #11
  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Austin Murrey: The House Freedom Caucus, that eeeeeeeevil group of right-wing Trump supporters in the House, egged on by their eeeeeeeevil constituents wanted a return to regular order. My God – bills coming up through committee? Amendments being offered and argued on the House floor? Sacre bleu! Flog those impertinent Jacobins from the floor of the Third Estate lest we have bread riots!

    Actually, the House Freedom Caucus members are being labeled as establishment RINO sell-outs. That was the reason for this article and my concern.

    • #12
  13. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    Listening to one of Mike Duncan’s recent Revolutions podcast. He made a comment on a typical French mindset, at the time. Something to the effect, “Why achieve through the ballot what can be done through revolution?”

    I know I murdered the quote, but I might have conveyed the sentiment.

    • #13
  14. Mister Magic Inactive
    Mister Magic
    @MisterMagic

    “Why achieve through the ballot what can be done through revolution?”

    Or pre-Hajj Malcolm X : By Any Means Necessary

    • #14
  15. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    Mister Magic:“Why achieve through the ballot what can be done through revolution?”

    Or pre-Hajj Malcolm X : By Any Means Necessary

    Thank you for this. One might tend to think of my additions as counter-ricochet; a way to muddy the discussion rather than clarify.

    • #15
  16. Hercules Rockefeller Inactive
    Hercules Rockefeller
    @HerculesRockefeller

    I used to abhor the French revolution. It was the opposite of the American Revolution, built upon mob rule, anger and vengeance. I haven’t changed my view of it as a historian, but I now better understand the rage. Today we learned that the IRS is still holding up conservative groups, and no one cares about this literal tyranny. I think the rage described, is a result of no one standing up for regular people, not just conservatives. I don’t care about committee chairmanships or the feelings of politicians, people in this country are drowning and we are sitting around describing the water.

    • #16
  17. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    A political movement waging a continuous reign of terror against its most loyal members is a movement doomed.

    I agree. In the immortal words of Mike Murphy, the base always shows up, so no need to pay attention the base.

    Well, here we are. A huge chunk of the base, having been ignored and betrayed, has now departed Establishmentland and gone away to Trumpville or Carson City.

    Any trust those folks had in the party has been lost, so it should surprise no one to see them eagerly embrace articles- like that one linked from Breitbart.com- that are bitterly hostile to the GOP.

    Since the United States will cease to exist, one way or another, if the open borders crowd are able to get their way, I think it is quite politically relevant if the various GOP congressmen so attacked by Julia Hahn at Breitbart actually are open borders supporters, and have actually done what they are accused of doing.

    If they are, then I think that there are vast numbers of Republicans who would like to know about it, because those Republicans aren’t supporters of open borders and amnesty.

    If someone can make money exposing the GOP betrayal, then so be it.

    • #17
  18. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Actually, the House Freedom Caucus members are being labeled as establishment RINO sell-outs. That was the reason for this article and my concern.

    According to whom? I lookup up the public portion of his Facebook page. There are indeed posts from people who oppose Paul Ryan for Speaker. There are also posts demanding that the Freedom Caucus “secede” from the Republican Party since they’re a crazy fringe, ones decrying “talk-radio screamers,” ones praising Meadows for working with Democrats for avoiding a shutdown, a couple talking about how dare he support school choice (“More like school looting…” and it’s “murdering public education”), congratulating him on standing with Benjamin Netanyahu and on and on.

    The idea that people upset with House leadership in general aren’t exactly thrilled about Paul Ryan as speaker isn’t exactly shocking or, again, indicative of a reign of terror ending with public executions.

    And I’m not surprised some people are feeling betrayed either – the Freedom Caucus has been wrongly portrayed as a bunch of fringe lunatic nut jobs bent on tearing down the government to appease their knuckle-dragging supporters. Given the large number of them supporting Ryan, they were mostly worried that there was an incredibly dictatorial Speaker who prevented regular order and was inappropriately punitive towards representatives that didn’t do as directed by the Speaker even if it went against the wishes of their constituents.

    Some people posted support when things when their way and now they’re expressing their anger when it isn’t – how is this different from the bazillion “those [CoC] Trump supporters and Trump are going to destroy the GOP!” articles you see when Trump is up in the polls and the “wow Trump had a bad night, the nightmare is over” articles you saw just after both debates?

    • #18
  19. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    HR,
    I share the rage, but I don’t share the inchoate demand to “do something” from some on the right.  Doing something is fine only if that “something” makes things better, not worse.  So far the angry right has gotten behind Tom Cruz who seems to specialize in little more than making enemies both on the left and the right, and Donald Trump who wants to pass Smoot-Hawley II.

    • #19
  20. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Jamie Lockett:Rage Caucus.

    Best Mexican wrestler name?

    • #20
  21. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Democrats are working on putting together a socialist agenda; Republicans are pointing fingers at each other about how much they dislike each other.

    I wonder how this story ends.

    (It better not be they-were-ghosts-all-along.  I hate that one.)

    • #21
  22. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    donald todd:I cannot speak for the House at this point, but it has been noted that bills go from the House to the (Republican) Senate, to die. Many of those bills were conservative enough so that someone like me would think of them as conservative.

    Perhaps Boehner’s resignation was questionable, but perhaps the Senate needs a treatment?

    I don’t think we’ve emphasized your point enough.

    I don’t believe Boehner was driven out or anyone took his scalp. He got rich and tired and quit. The real log jam is the Senate. I’m not sure it matters who is speaker or how may people join the freedom caucus Mitch McConnell is still doing is Harry Reid impersonation.

    • #22
  23. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Nyadnar17:Its blowing my mind how many people on our side can’t tell the difference between someone they disagree with and a political enemy.

    The people we disagree with occasionally don’t do much to distinguish themselves from our enemies.

    Only if you consider differences in tactics to be the same thing as differences in policy.

    Policy without resolve is vacuous at best.

    • #23
  24. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:Rage Caucus.

    RageCaucus

    • #24
  25. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Richard Fulmer:HR, I share the rage, but I don’t share the inchoate demand to “do something” from some on the right. Doing something is fine only if that “something” makes things better, not worse. So far the angry right has gotten behind Tom Cruz who seems to specialize in little more than making enemies both on the left and the right, and Donald Trump who wants to pass Smoot-Hawley II.

    Ya know…this is why the anti-Trump arguments are failing, so far.

    Any mention of having the US actually work to encourage economic activity inside the actual United States, as opposed to being completely indifferent as to where it happens, is automatically Smoot Hawley, which will bring the doom of us all.

    Stop this. You just look silly making this assertion in public.

    • #25
  26. Hercules Rockefeller Inactive
    Hercules Rockefeller
    @HerculesRockefeller

    Richard,

    I agree with you, the doing something just to do something is very dangerous. The leaders in Washington, however, are doing their best to make a dangerous idea more and more palatable to reasonable people.

    • #26
  27. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Nyadnar17:Its blowing my mind how many people on our side can’t tell the difference between someone they disagree with and a political enemy.

    The people we disagree with occasionally don’t do much to distinguish themselves from our enemies.

    Only if you consider differences in tactics to be the same thing as differences in policy.

    Policy without resolve is vacuous at best.

    Resolve without means is fruitless.

    • #27
  28. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Austin Murrey:I’m not sure what the appropriate word to describe this sort of accusation is, but folderol will do (because honestly how often do I get to use such a highfalutin word?).

    The idea that people opposed to Boehner and/or Ryan are the same as those that cut Louis XVI’s head off is exaggeration of the worst sort. John Boehner had an idea about how the House should work: he put legislation forth and then the House voted for whatever he dug up.

    The House Freedom Caucus, that eeeeeeeevil group of right-wing Trump supporters in the House, egged on by their eeeeeeeevil constituents wanted a return to regular order.

    I’ve never associated the HFC with supporting Trump. Where’s that from?

    And suddenly it’s terrifying that someone is upset on the internet?

    It’s perfectly acceptable for the constituents of a congressman to be upset with their representative’s votes and express that opinion, it doesn’t mean we’re going to have a Terror ripping through the streets of Washington D.C. – although there are times…

    Finally there are plenty of scam PAC’s out there long on promises and short on delivery: Right to Rise comes to mind immediately!

    Of course they play on emotions – that’s what con men do. If they appealed to intellect they’d be political commentators or stock analysts.

    Thanks for the laugh on that last bit, always helpful on Monday.

    • #28
  29. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Nyadnar17:Its blowing my mind how many people on our side can’t tell the difference between someone they disagree with and a political enemy.

    The people we disagree with occasionally don’t do much to distinguish themselves from our enemies.

    Only if you consider differences in tactics to be the same thing as differences in policy.

    Policy without resolve is vacuous at best.

    Resolve without means is fruitless.

    Thankfully we have the power of the purse so we have means.

    • #29
  30. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Xennady:

    Richard Fulmer:HR, I share the rage, but I don’t share the inchoate demand to “do something” from some on the right. Doing something is fine only if that “something” makes things better, not worse. So far the angry right has gotten behind Tom Cruz who seems to specialize in little more than making enemies both on the left and the right, and Donald Trump who wants to pass Smoot-Hawley II.

    Ya know…this is why the anti-Trump arguments are failing, so far.

    Any mention of having the US actually work to encourage economic activity inside the actual United States, as opposed to being completely indifferent as to where it happens, is automatically Smoot Hawley, which will bring the doom of us all.

    Stop this. You just look silly making this assertion in public.

    Donald Trump has talked about using retaliatory tariffs to bring jobs back to the US. Never mind that this is completely ignorant economics, it is literally what was done at the beginning of the 20th Century that helped bring about the Depression.

    People need to wake up to the fact that the alleged hey day of American manufacturing is just rose colored glasses and an accident of history that left the rest of the worlds manufacturing capacity destroyed for almost a generation. (FYI: the actual hey day of American Manufacturing is right now.)

    Ask yourself this: why do we want these low pay, low skill jobs back in the US?

    • #30

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