Now is when the adults in the room are supposed to rise from their rocking chairs and send us uppity conservatives to our room without our supper. But instead, we’re going to stay right here and have another cheeseburger. And another beer. And there’s nothing you Chamber of Commerce-kissing, Obama-submitting moderates can do about it.
When Paul Ryan was drafted for Speaker, who held the real power in that dynamic? Not Ryan – he knew he couldn’t say ‘No” because he would catch the blame if everything went to hell. No, the guys with the real power were the dreaded conservatives – they were the ones whose bottoms were getting bussed.
Sure, there are only a few dozen in the Freedom Caucus, but today they are in the driver’s seat, forcing the caucus kicking and screaming to the right. They are the ones who pummeled the House GOP into transforming from the old status quo-reinforcing transactional paradigm based on trading earmarks into an ideological paradigm based on fighting the liberal agenda. The conservatives have won. We need to understand and accept that so we can move on to the next phase in our campaign to destroy progressivism and restore America.
The fact that conservatives have taken the reins away from the moderates makes people mad, mostly moderate people. Their problem is that we conservatives just won’t cooperate and compromise and lose. This insistence on actually doing conservative things freaks out the squares – “You mean, when you said you wanted to defund Obamacare, you guys were serious?”
Now, that’s not to say that many of us on the right are not also frustrated and annoyed at the hardcore conservatives. We are. Even I am occasionally, like when they won’t take “Yes” for an answer. Paul Ryan was saying “Yes” when he agreed to not push amnesty, to maintain the Hastert Rule, and to reform House procedures. In return, all Ryan wanted was to be allowed to spend more of his time with his kids than sucking face with donor class squishes and trading our principles for their cash. Oh no, Paul – don’t throw us in the briar patch.
Yeah, hardcore conservatives are a pain, but it’s a good hurt, like when your legs get sore after a run or your knuckles ache after punching a hippie.
Let’s face facts – without the hardcore conservatives, Paul Ryan would be happily wonking out as Ways and Means chairman instead of promising to give up about 90% of what we want. John Boehner would still be the Annoying Orange of GOP politics, clinking his highball glass in his secret conclaves with the same K Street jerks we want to see shuttering their expensive offices and wearing barrels as they ride out of D.C. in a caravan of battered U-Hauls.
The smart center right guys get this. They know how to make hard lemonade out of the hard right lemons of the Freedom Caucus. I negotiate for a living as a trial lawyer, and I understand that getting 80% of what my client wants on a given deal means I’m getting hi-fived and a bonus. And I love playing the “Craziest Guy in the Room” card. Sometimes, I even am that card. The CGITR strategy involves being the guy willing to pull a Samson and bring it all down on top of everyone – he’s perfectly happy to get smooshed in the collapse just as long as he takes you all with him. That’s the role of the hardcore conservatives who won’t settle for anything less than 110% of what they want. You can point to them, sigh, shake your head sadly, and say, “Gosh, you better give me 80% and then maybe – maybe – I can hold off these lunatics.”
All hail the conservatives who won’t compromise, who won’t buckle, who won’t let the go-along/get-along gang keep going along and getting along. After all, without the hardcore conservatives, the speaker issue would be moot. Pelosi would be in charge and busy helping Obama turn this country into Venezuela II: The Enfascisting.
There’s no turning back either. We are not returning to the days when the House GOP caucus was satisfied to be a bunch of gentlemanly losers happy to spend several terms spinning their wheels on the Potomac as the government grew and metastasized on their watch. Every election cycle, more of the old guard retires and more of the new breed comes on board. The tilt has happened. John Boehner left the speakership and the House for one reason and one reason only – to avoid a humiliating repudiation at the hands of the GOP caucus that a dozen cases of Jack Daniel’s couldn’t make him forget.
Boehner made no secret that he held conservatives in contempt. And for that the conservatives broke him. Maybe the media missed this essential truth, but that’s a lesson ambitious Republican politicians are all going to learn. The likes of David Brooks will wet their collective Dockers, but the Age of the Squish has come to an end. The RINOs are Cecil, the conservatives are the dentists, and the no one wants to the next head on the wall next to Eric Cantor and Sobby John’s.
This isn’t some phase the GOP is going to outgrow. We’re not afraid to demand that those who lead us be conservative. No dignified elder statesman with a track record of honorable defeat is going to talk some sense into us. We have no desire to utter the squish war cry of, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”
Yeah, conservatives can be annoying. Hell, they often annoy me, and I’m so hardcore that I’d oppose replacing EBT cards with community gruel pots because I think that’s still too generous to deadbeat Democrat-voting losers. But people who actually believe in something often are annoying.
Here’s the reality. We conservatives have won. And as we exchange our place on the fringes of the party with the RINOs – when the squishes mutter that the GOP they knew is gone, they’re right – we are dealing with a whole new set of challenges. We conservatives now represent the GOP consensus, and power struggles we have seen are our growing pains.
We will get through them. We will prevail. We are the conservatives, and this House is now our house. Deal with it.