By now, you have heard the news of conservative House members–including Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), among others–being removed from key committees by GOP leadership. On the matter, Rep. Huelskamp recently told Heritage that “It confirms in my mind the deepest suspicions of most Americans about Washington, D.C.–it’s petty, it’s vindictive, and if you have any conservative principles, you will be punished for articulating those.” He added, “It’s about blind obedience. And that does a disservice to the institution, it does a disservice to a representational system.”
Heritage adds that Huelskamp “noted that many members were removed from committees dealing with issues in which those members have expertise. Huelskamp himself is a former farmer, but was removed from the Agriculture Committee. He cited Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) as well, who was booted from the Finance Committee despite his business background.”
In other words, if representatives vote according to their principles and the wishes of their constituents, but don’t agree with GOP leadership, they are punished. It’s a disgrace that disrespects the rights of conservative elected officials to speak their minds and represent the values and policies they were elected to represent. It tramples on the voices and policy wishes of the people who voted for these conservative representatives. And, perhaps most importantly, it stifles free thinking and principled decision-making in the name of promoting the homogeneity of thought that leadership requires to cut the kind of deals it deems appropriate.
Each and every one of you should be angry that anyone in a political leadership position would seek to disregard your votes and the ability of your representatives to protect your policy wishes.
In a larger sense, what exactly does GOP leadership think they are accomplishing here? Do they think the public is blind and/or stupid? (Because we’re not.)
Do they think this won’t cause more and more people to turn away from the GOP in disgust? (Because it already has.)
Do they think that alienating conservatives and all those who respect the rights of representatives to think and vote freely is a smart strategic move? (Because it clearly isn’t.)
And do they think they can win future elections without the enthusiasm and commitment of conservatives and libertarian-conservatives who are sickened by this kind of egocentric behavior? (Because they can’t.)
As Rep. Huelskamp told Mark Levin last night, “I think the Republican establishment has decided that the way they grow into a majority party is they attack conservatives and they tell libertarians to go take a hike.” It’s a strategy, but it’s a losing one.
GOP leadership, suppressing freedom of thought among elected representatives will not be tolerated by voters. We deeply value the rights of our elected officials to defend what they were sent to D.C. to defend. And if alienating conservatives and libertarian-conservatives–which you have been doing consistently for some time–continues to be part of your strategic plan, you will only succeed in weakening the Party and its relevance in future elections.