Chairman Mao, the man who sparked a communist takeover in China, once said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”:
We have endured a couple of weeks of terrifying gun violence. There was The mall shooting in Oregon on Dec. 11. The heartbreaking slaughter of innocents at Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 And on Christmas Eve, a deranged murderer who served time for killing his grandmother with a hammer intentionally set his house ablaze and shot at responding firefighters (killing two) because he wanted to “do what I like doing best, killing people.”
So, as you might imagine, a chill went through me when I read the opening vignette in Amy Gardner’s article in The Post this morning about the struggles within the tea party group FreedomWorks.
More details have arisen regarding the split between Dick Armey and FreedomWorks from this Mother Jones article, reported early this Christmas Eve. The article specifically details a memo that was released by Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, that outlines his take on the dynamics of the split:
When the news broke in early December that former GOP Rep. Dick Armey had abruptly resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, a powerhouse of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party, Armey maintained that the nasty split was due to differences he had with the top management of FreedomWorks about the group’s operations and future.
But Matt Kibbe’s memo paints a very different picture of the split.
One of the first actions taken by Dick Armey [after the September meeting] is his attempt to reassess our political priorities. “We have to help my friend Tommy Thompson,” he tells the staff in his first meeting with them. He later tells the staff that he has discussed the Missouri Senate race with “my friend [Senator] Roy Blunt, and he says they really need grassroots cover for Todd Akin.” FreedomWorks PAC had endorsed John Brunner, who barely lost to Akin [in the GOP primary]. We had declined to endorse Akin, even before “legitimate rape” became a late night punch line.
It seems to all be boiling down to Armey saying it’s about a book deal, specifically Hostile Takeover. Kibbe says it’s clearly about the establishment vs. the grassroots, which, ironically, is the entire point of the book.
Yesterday, Dean Clancy, Legislative Counsel and Vice President of Health Care Policy at FreedomWorks, wrote approvingly of House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B.” Clancy explained, “While not nearly as good as the FreedomWorks Plan to avert the fiscal cliff, Plan B is much better than the so-called ‘balanced approach’ that Mr. Boehner had, until Monday, been trying to negotiate with Mr. Obama.
While this may have left the impression that FreedomWorks was endorsing Boehner’s proposal, alongside Americans for Tax Reform, it would seem that Clancy was just stating his opinion, describing why “Plan B” might be reasonable, not speaking for FreedomWorks as an organization. He updated his post this afternoon, noting that FreedomWorks will be opposing the plan:
After review of the Boehner Plan B legislation, pending in the House today, FreedomWorks has found it must oppose the legislation, and will be urging House members to vote NO on the bill. We will post our formal opposition letter on our site, soon.
Word is that FreedomWorks may also score the vote, which is scheduled to take place some time this evening.
We’ve already noted that some conservative organizations — including Americans for Tax Reform — are supporting Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B,” which includes tax rate hikes on those earning more than $1 million. However, Erick Erickson, editor of the influential conservative blog, RedState.com, announced his opposition to the plan just moments ago:
Republicans in Congress intend to vote today on Plan B, John Boehner’s fall back plan on the fiscal cliff.
The President says he will veto it.
In other words, the Republicans are going to go on record that they will sell out their last remaining principle — no tax increases — and get nothing from the Democrats in return. Nothing.
There’ll be no Democrat deal on entitlements. There’ll be no Democrat deal on spending. There will only be the GOP’s sell out.
Click here to call your congressman. Tell him to oppose this Republican deal.
Erickson isn’t alone in his opposition to Boehner’s “Plan B” as the Heritage Foundation, which is headed by former Sen. Jim DeMint, and the Club for Growth isare also opposing the plan.
Despite the White House issuing a veto threat against the so-called “Plan B,” Speaker John Boehner called on President Barack Obama to “get serious” in the discussion on the “fiscal cliff” during a press conference today and insisted that the House of Representatives will pass his latest proposal:
Boehner’s “Plan B” would raise tax rates on individuals earning over $1 million, raise the debt ceiling for one year, and cut entitlement programs. While some conservatives are unhappy with House Republicans over the negotiations, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, has given Boehner’s plan a stamp of approval. Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks, has also had a positive reaction to the plan.
After yesterday’s press conference with more than 100 activists who spoke with reporters about this year’s election and 2014, there has been more news coming from FreedomWorks. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who has served as chairman of the grassroots organization since 2003, has resigned his post due to issues over what direction FreedomWorks should take going forward:
In a move not publicly announced, former Rep. Dick Armey, the folksy conservative leader, has resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, one of the main political outfits of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party.
Armey, the former House majority leader who helped develop and promote the GOP’s Contract with America in the 1990s, tendered his resignation in an memo sent to Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, on November 30. Mother Jones obtained the email on Monday, and Armey has confirmed he sent it. The tone of the memo suggests that this was not an amicable separation. (See Armey’s email below.) Armey demanded that he be paid until his contract ended on December 31; that FreedomWorks remove his name, image, or signature “from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter”; and that FreedomWorks deliver the copy of his official congressional portrait to his home in Texas.
One of the few surprises on election night was Rep. Allen West (R-FL) trailing his opponent, Patrick Murphy. Going by what polls were available, it looked like West would probably win re-election. But after two weeks of failed court challenges and a recount of early votes adding to his opponent’s vote total, West finally conceded defeat yesterday:
Florida Republican Rep. Allen West conceded to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy Tuesday morning, wrapping up one of the highest-profile and most expensive House races in the country.
“While there are certainly still inaccuracies in the results, and the actions of the St. Lucie County and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections rightly raise questions in my mind and for many voters, after much analysis and this past weekend’s recount in St. Lucie County, our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election,” West said in a statement.
Last week, I mentioned that Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) was running for chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group that guides conservative policy in the House. Graves has already received the support of the founders of RSC, but he picked up another endorsement yesterday from FreedomWorks, which has help guide activists in the freedom movement over the last few years:
FreedomWorks announced its commitment today to endorse Tom Graves for the position of Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman. The RSC serves as a fiscally conservative check on Republican leadership, and gives principled men and women of Congress without years of seniority the opportunity to affect real change.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe commented, “Tom Graves is currently one of the best votes in Congress, scoring 100% on our 2011 legislative scorecard. While others abandoned the ideas of fiscal responsibility and limited-government, Graves took a stand and voted against the Budget Control Act and the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. We need a strong voice to ensure that good economic policy triumphs over politics as usual in Congress, and Tom Graves is the man for the job.”
Graves was also a recipient of the FreedomWorks Legislative Entrepreneur Award during his service in the Georgia State House, where he created a fiscally conservative caucus.
Graves has competition in the race from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is closely aligned with House Speaker John Boehner, who is increasingly trying to make sure House Republicans are on board with him through the “fiscal cliff” debate.
Elections for House Republican leadership are heating up, and it has the potential for embarrassment for Speaker John Boehner. Yesterday, BuzzFeed reported that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) turned down an offer from Boehner for him to back out of his bid for chairman of the House Republican Conference, a nod to his preferred pick, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA):
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Boehner approached the Georgia Republican with the offer hoping to circumvent an ugly fight between Price and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers over chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.
McMorris Rodgers, a key surrogate for Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid, is favored by leadership. But Price has the backing of conservatives both within the conference and the broader movement, and his bid has threatened to turn the race ugly.
According to these sources, Boehner offered to make Price chairman of the Elected Leadership Council, the group of GOP leaders that runs the party in the House. The chairmanship carries prestige, but is not elected and is largely ceremonial since Boehner is in charge of the party.
But Boehner’s proposal came with a catch — Price would have to swear loyalty to leadership and promise not to break with them over the next two years.
Price, a doctor and former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has been fairly consistent in pushing fiscally conservative principles in the House. He was one of the fiercest opponents of ObamaCare and has been known to vote against leadership from time to time.
With the election finally over, Republicans in Congress will soon being electing leaders for the next session. There are signs that GOP leadership in the House are already starting to waiver. That’s why strong voices are need to keep them accountable.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has been a voice for fiscal conservatism in the House, fighting for real spending cuts, tax reform, and solving the looming crisis with entitlements. With more than 160 members in its ranks, the RSC will play a significant role in the discussion over fiscal policy in the House over the next two years and it needs a new leader, a fresh face with strong ideas on these important issues.
On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who is running for chairman of the RSC, explaining his vision for the group as conservatives in Congress enter tough times. Calling it “RSC 2.0,” Graves said that his “mission for RSC is rooted in three parts: Casting a Vision. Building Consensus. Achieving Results.” In his e-mail, Graves also notes, “The challenges we will face in the next two years are predictable and easily forecasted.”
“By Casting a Vision, RSC can plan and prioritize by developing solutions that strategically embrace our conservative principles and align them with tomorrow’s challenges,” Graves explained, adding, “Let’s be proactive, not reactive.” You can read Graves’ full “RSC 2.0” plan at the bottom of the post.
Graves knows that conservatives in the House must accomplish their goals. And, perhaps more importantly, Graves notes, “We can become results driven, with a ‘yes if’ approach instead of ‘no because,’ and equipping RSC members to infuse our ideas throughout the entire legislative process, not just on the floor.”
Graves also sent around this video to colleages: