Just Another Eric Cantor/John Boehner?
Why a move to elect Paul Ryan Speaker of the House is a slap in the face of the Freedom Caucus’s constituents
June 10, 2014 was the day a shot was heard ‘round the political world. That day saw the take down of the pre-ordained Speaker of the House, and eventual presidential hopeful, Eric Cantor.
Still to this day, Eric Cantor proclaims that his loss was a fluke, the result of an outlandish (23,000+ theoretically impossible and indefensible) number of Democrats voting for a cartoonishly-portrayed, liberal college professor. If you accept this delusional premise, desperately pedaled by the Cantor team (BTW, the then, most powerful GOP force in Virginia), how does one explain the unparalleled sequence of “fluke” occurrences that bring us to the present?
The man who reluctantly and surprisingly played the role of spoiler is our freshman congressman, Dave Brat. Since being nominated in the 2014 primary, Dave Brat has consistently and admirably represented the grassroots and all constituents of the 7th District of Virginia.
The newly released political thriller, How to Bag a RINO details how a disparate group of average citizens, long dismissed by the party elites, took up the torches of liberty and idealism to wage war on a very unlevel, if not mountainous, playing field, and how we refused to accept disingenuous offers of compromise and negotiation with self-anointed lords of power and patronage. The will of the people in the VA 7th was clearly and unambiguously revealed on June 10, 2014. Even a blind man can see that the state we presently find ourselves in was foretold nearly a year and a half ago.
Read How to Bag a RINO and you will realize how Mr. Cantor’s unforeseen fall from grace portended the pathway that has brought us:
- the inevitable resignation of John Boehner
- the hand-picked, Establishment replacement, Speaker of the House candidate, Kevin McCarthy, and then his subsequent, shocking withdrawal
- and now, the forced, ill-conceived, last minute, scramble to salvage the stranglehold of power with none other than, Eric Cantor’s fellow Young Gun, Paul Ryan.
If you want to stick your head in the sand and witness the continued decline of the American Experiment, then cast your vote for Paul Ryan and the crony capitalists of the GOP Establishment and be done with us, “we the people”. If you discount our claims, how do you explain the, in-your-face, announcement that a US Chamber of Commerce lobbyist will become Ryan’s Chief of Staff upon assuming the Speakership? And just as Eric Cantor pretentiously planned an elaborate and lavish victory celebration for the expected coronation, Paul Ryan finds himself doing the same.
If on the other hand, you acknowledge the shift in the angry, disaffected GOP electorate to party outsiders, as evidenced by the unprecedented support of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, then support the only candidate for Speaker to sign off on Dave Brat’s 10 commitments, Daniel Webster.
Dave Brat has been the voice for regular order by which the House engages in the work of the people, not the will of the elites, the lords of big government, big business, and crony, corrupt capitalism. Congressman Brat’s 10 Commitments are reflective of Virginia’s Republican Creed. Five items address policy concerns and five more pertain to process of performing the work of the House.
1. Facilitate a budget that balances within 10 years and seek to enforce it through the authorizing and appropriations process.
2. Encourage committees to advance market-driven health care reforms to replace Obamacare.
3. Support policies that secure the border and enable interior enforcement while opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.
4. Urge all committees to advance agendas based on limited government, economic opportunity, and fiscal responsibility.
5. Enforce the rule of law and separation of powers against executive (presidential) overreach.
6. Seek reforms of the Republican Conference Rules so leadership committees better represent the American people.
7. Adhere to the majority-of-the-majority principle for bringing legislation to the floor.
8. Support changes to the budget process to promote fiscal responsibility, particularly regarding mandatory programs (70% of current spending).
9. Empower committee members to choose chairs and craft reform legislation without fear of retaliation.
10. Broaden opportunities to offer amendments and legislation on the House floor with full debate.
Ben Carson and Donald Trump can only be explained by the national movement mirrored and forecasted by what occurred on June 10, 2014 when the future Speaker of the House, Eric Cantor was not just toppled, but humiliated and ridiculed by an 11 point margin, never before seen in American political circles for a sitting House Majority Leader.
We respectfully implore you to refuse to cast your vote for Paul Ryan, as he continues to refuse to sign off on the Brat Commitments.
Consider the will of the people you were elected to represent and vote for the integrity of the process. Vote Daniel Webster.
The Freedom Caucus is the last line of defense in the fight for liberty and justice for all Americans. The Freedom Caucus owes its very existence, in no small part, to the voters of the 7th District of Virginia and to our representative, Dave Brat. The Freedom Caucus will set the stage for its eventual dissolution and become just another bump in the road toward the oligarchy we are becoming if you vote for Paul Ryan.
The betrayal will be irreversible.
An alternative path to pursue, should the inevitable crowning of Paul Ryan occur, it is imperative, for the protection of your incumbency, that each and every member of the Freedom Caucus perform your due diligence and personally hold Mr. Ryan accountable for any and all actions he may take as Speaker of the House.
The grassroots across the nation, not just the VA 7th, are absolutely fed up with the continued deception, misdirection, and outright lies fed to us as pabulum. To move beyond this point and have any hope of future strength and leadership in the name of “we the people” thrive, you must demand and obtain written assurances from Mr. Ryan that what he agreed to, in private with the Freedom Caucus last week, he will abide by in the future.
It is not sufficient to dismiss the grassroots as inconsequential observers to the shenanigans of a select contingent of powerbrokers. It is no longer acceptable nor is it even fathomable that we will be placated with assurances and even heartfelt promises of accountability. The Leadership has proven time and again there is not even a semblance of accountability remaining in Washington. Any accountability that may exist is to interests beyond the reach of the voter.
Our belief is that once the Ryan Speakership commences, the aim of the establishment leadership regime will continue unabated, to further marginalize and eventually dissolve the Freedom Caucus from further existence. Once that occurs, any remaining vestiges of hope for the reinstatement of regular order disappears.
Our bottom line is that the Eric Cantor Young Gun aristocracy cannot EVER be trusted with simple verbal assurances. Evidence their continued secretive support for amnesty for illegal aliens. Even a written contract holds little weight in an era where the rule of law is no longer an accepted paradigm.
Do what you must, but “we the people” will forever remember the words of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, when asked by Mrs. Powel what form of government had the Continental Congress given the people: “a republic, if YOU (emphasis added) can keep it.” We are not going away. We are not giving up. We are going to hold YOU accountable for YOUR vote. We will do what we must to keep the republic.
Respectfully submitted and mutually pledged:
Ron Hedlund, Former Chairman, Alleghany County, Covington & Clifton Forge Republican Party
Zachary Werrell, Former Dave Brat Campaign Manager & Author, How To Bag A RINO
Gray Delany, Former Dave Brat Deputy Campaign Manager & Author, How To Bag A RINO
Fred Gruber, 7th District Chairman, Republican Party of Virginia
Ben Slone, Chairman, Goochland County Republican Party
Susan Lascolette, Chair, Goochland County Board of Supervisors
Brandon Howard, Chairman, Hopewell Republican Party
Wayne Cunningham, Chairman, Prince George County Republican Party
(Note: titles used for identification purposes only, no organizational endorsements implied)
Additional Dave Brat supporters:
Mark & Anita Hile
Pete & Irene Churins
Cindy Pitt Kinney
Brad & Alice Morgan
Steven Brody Tucker
Carol Ann Carelli
If there was a moment that can be said to have touched off the turmoil now roiling the GOP, it occurred in December, 2012, at the Mekong Restaurant in Henrico County, Virginia. Over noodles, a local grassroots organizer named Kim Singhas turned to a fellow activist and whispered "He's the real deal." The reference was to the guy sitting across the table, Dave Brat, an economics professor at nearby Randolph-Macon College. They spent the rest of that lunch trying to persuade Brat to challenge House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the GOP primary the following June.
The rest is political history.
Massively under-funded but supported by a vast army of dedicated volunteers, Brat scored one of the most stunning upsets on record, beating the seven-term incumbent and presumed successor to John Boehner by more than eleven points.
But, of course, the remarkable events of June 10, 2014 did more than just disrupt the establishment’s planned House leadership succession -- far more than even the two of us, who helped run the Brat campaign, could have imagined. For it signaled the near-bottomless depth of anger and frustration among rank-and-file conservatives nationwide that is now so evident in the presidential race.
eb Bush’s poor showing, in particular, was foreshadowed by Cantor. Like the deposed House Majority Leader, the former Florida governor, by virtue of his standing as a senior member of the establishment and his vast war chest, was initially presumed by the elites in both the GOP and the media to be superbly positioned. Like Cantor, (who sent out no fewer than seventeen mailers and spent millions on TV ads misrepresenting his record), Bush presented himself as a rock solid conservative. And, like Cantor, he had no idea of the tsunami bearing down on him.
Even now, with all signs pointing to Paul Ryan assuming the Speakership, his ascension remains in question only because of the Freedom Caucus’s now-established capacity to disrupt business-as-usual. This is not chaos, it is democracy in action.
His failure has had little to do with his debate performances, or even his policies. The American people have simply caught on to the fact that the special interests with whom he is rightly identified run Washington. And they know that, campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, no establishment candidate will ever meaningfully disrupt the status quo.
ow clueless is Jeb Bush? He proudly appointed as his Virginia campaign chair --- Eric Cantor.
Even now, with the dominoes starting to fall, the GOP establishment is unwilling to connect the dots. This is perhaps most clear in their reaction to the House Freedom Caucus. To hear the establishment and its media allies tell it, the caucus is nothing short of disastrous, both for the party and the country. To Congressman Peter King, the Freedom Caucus is “trying to blackmail the party, hijack the Congress, and this has never happened before and it shouldn’t.”
The Wall Street Journal laments that these “refuseniks” (the Freedom Caucus) will cause the GOP Congress to “slip into chaos that cedes the agenda to Democrats or is unable to do even the most basic work of government. GOP approval ratings, already low, will sink further and let Democrats run against a reckless Congress.”
In fact, the "chaos" provoked by the Freedom Caucus is exactly what the Founders intended. What makes the members of the Freedom Caucus anomalous, and puts them at odds with so many of their GOP colleagues, is that that they are doing exactly what they promised their voters they would do on the campaign trail.
The Freedom Caucus has used their voting power to hold accountable a leadership long accustomed to wielding its power to circumvent House rules, picking and choosing the bills brought to the House Floor and preventing members from offering amendments not to their liking. Even now, with all signs pointing to Paul Ryan assuming the Speakership, his ascension remains in question only because of the Freedom Caucus’s now-established capacity to disrupt business-as-usual. This is not chaos, it is democracy in action. The opprobrium heaped upon the caucus – like that faced by the outsider presidential candidates dominating the polls -- is above all evidence of their responsiveness to voters’ disgust with the status quo, and a desperation for leadership committed to halting the country’s descent into financial ruin. Far from reckless, it is in the truest spirit of responsible governance.
Will there be serious consequences to this fight for the GOP’s soul?
Will the media continue to bemoan the eclipse of supposedly “responsible” figures like Cantor and Bush at the hands of “radicals,” and otherwise relentlessly paint the party as dysfunctional? Will the Obama Administration seek to use the fight to its own advantage? Will there be electoral casualties on both sides? Absolutely, on all counts. But what is afoot is something that had to happen in order to restore the brand of the Republican Party. As creative destruction is essential to a healthy economy -- otherwise we'd still be manufacturing buggy whips and watching silent films -- so it is also necessary in the political process. What has been happening in the GOP – that is what it looks like.
The mainstream media's reporting on John Boehner in the days since his resignation is hugely revealing. For conservatives it confirms what they’ve always known: the symbiotic relationship between the media and the political class.
Most incredible has been the coverage of Boehner himself. Almost always hostile to Boehner in the past, he is now portrayed with understanding, even sympathy. Suddenly this man who they so mercilessly mocked for so long is almost an heroic figure! The narrative is that Boehner resigned because he was willing to compromise with Democrats; and that while neither side can expect to get everything it wants in a democracy – in Boehner’s case, because he was dealing with a Democratic president and (for most of his term), a Democratic Senate -- he accomplished a great deal. Hadn’t he kept taxes low for 99% of Americans, reduced spending by $2.1 trillion, accomplished serious entitlement reform? Conservatives should appreciate all that, but of course they never did. Why? Because by definition conservatives are unreasonable. Childishly stubborn. Anti-democratic. They steadfastly refused to understand the impossible position that Boehner was in. According to the media, as soon as conservatives realize how good they had it with Boehner, they are going to bitterly regret ousting. Don’t hold your breath. In fact, Boehner never compromised in good faith; if he had, conservative would have held their noses and understood. When you control only one branch of government, compromise is essential – indeed, what the Founders intended. But what he did was not compromise, but, time and time again, capitulate – and never more so than on crony programs that benefit the political class and big business at the expense of main-street America.
Take the Tax Prevention Act of 2014. It naturally received scant attention from the press. Listed below are a few examples of tax credits in the bill.
the classification of race horses as three-year property for depreciation purposes
the sub-part F income exemption for income derived in the active conduct of a banking, financing, or insurance business
the tax deduction for income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.
the tax credit for American Samoa economic development expenditures
the special depreciation allowance for second generation biofuel plant property
tax rules relating to payments between related foreign corporations and dividends of regulated investment companies.
It is the perfect example of why conservatives maintain that what we have had for too long is basically one-party government – the party of the establishment, supported by their allies in the elite media.
Democrats are supposedly against special tax credits for Wall St, right? And Republicans are supposedly against the government picking winners and losers? Under John Boehner, (and under the radar), this bill passed almost unanimously. It is the perfect example of why conservatives are in revolt in this country. What we have had for too long is basically one-party government – the party of the establishment, supported by their allies in the elite media, who allow the Democrats and Republicans alike to make a show of repeating their empty talking points and clichés, and never call them on their hypocrisies.
In Congress today, only the House Freedom Caucus stand up against this corruption, and in forcing Boehner's resignation, they did an enormous service both to the nation and to their party. It is the first crucial step in exposing the unholy alliance between the establishments of both parties. But as the coming election of Kevin McCarthy shows, it is only a first step. America has long been played by the Boehner’s and Pelosi’s like a fiddle, and that will only change if voters send enough new members to the House Freedom caucus to finally, completely root out the corruption and work their will. And we know going in they will have to fight the media every step of the way.