Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
When the Freedom Caucus first organized in 2015, my perception was that they were a group of overly conservative troublemakers. They rebelled against House leadership, took controversial stands, and raised havoc overall. But lately my perception has been changing. The Freedom Caucus may be just what this country needs.
According to Pew Research, the Freedom Caucus began with about 36 members. They don’t publish a list of their members, so the identities and numbers have fluctuated over time. They are known as the most conservative of the House Republicans, although every member doesn’t fit that description. Pew Research describes them in this way:
The group, which includes many veterans of the Tea Party movement, was formed in January  with the declared aim of pushing the House GOP leadership rightward on certain fiscal and social issues. More broadly, the caucus wants power shifted away from the leadership to the rank-and-file (by, for instance, giving committees more leeway on which bills to move forward and allowing more amendments to come to floor votes).
Early on, they defied John Boehner, who finally left in exasperation. When they didn’t back Kevin McCarthy for House Majority Leader, he pulled out of the race. So the Freedom Caucus has made its presence felt.
I began to shift my perspective about the Freedom Caucus and one of its leaders, Jim Jordan, for two reasons. One reason was that my view of Jim Jordan had changed dramatically. Even before the Caucus first formed, I saw Jim Jordan on television a number of times. He seemed arrogant and happy to be in front of the camera. Most recently, however, Kimberley Strassel in her book The Intimidation Game explained why she was impressed by Jim Jordan’s doggedness and sincerity demonstrated by his actions in the investigation of Lois Lerner:
…Jordan felt a personal connection to this outrage and personally spearheaded the probe. That’s unusual for a congressman, as even his staff will admit. Jordan is gracious, and continuously gives credit to a dutiful team that diligently pieced together the IRS intimidation game. It ultimately reviewed more than 1.3 million pages of documents from the IRS, Treasury, Justice, the FEC, the IRS Oversight Board, and TIGTA. It sat through close to fifty-five interviews and did the legwork for endless public hearings. “These guys worked their tails off,” says Jordan, noting that a lot of what he’d learned came from telephone briefings with his team.
From his team:
These are daylong affairs. And he’d be there the whole day, asking questions, picking up inconsistencies, going back on points. It’s really rare to have a congressman do that. He ran this thing.
It appears that Jordan is a driving force in the Freedom Caucus.
The second reason for my new perspective on the Freedom Caucus is the response of several Republicans to them. Many of these frustrated Republicans have stated their dislike and frustration with this new “rabble-rousing” group, particularly when it began proposing changes to the health care legislation. Approaching the latest “skinny bill” proposed by the Senate, the Freedom Caucus remained quiet. When the bill didn’t pass, however, the leadership of the Caucus stated they had a bill waiting in the House that needed serious consideration, and unlike many of their contemporaries, they were looking at a bill that focused on repeal.
When I look at the pathetic efforts of the Senate to pass a health care bill, because they are focused on getting elected the next time around, rather than honoring their promises, I’m taking a much closer look at the Freedom Caucus, and I hope it will be taking more of a leadership role in Congress. I think Republicans have to start acting like Conservatives. They must begin making tough decisions that are consistent with Conservative principles. I believe that the Freedom Caucus may be just the rabble-rousing they need.