(Richard A. Viguerie, CHQ Chairman) – The vote to replace Speaker of the House John Boehner will likely take place on Thursday, October 8, followed by elections for the other House Republican Conference leadership positions later in the month.
As I see it, the vote for Speaker, Majority Leader and Republican Whip will become the ultimate litmus test for whether a House member is truly committed to governing America according to conservative principles, or whether they are merely paying lip service to conservative principles and advancing the conservative agenda.
The current House Majority Leader, California establishment Republican Kevin McCarthy of California is seen as the leading candidate to replace his mentor Speaker Boehner. Two other candidates have, so far, put their names forward; Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz of Utah and principled limited government constitutional conservative Daniel Webster of Florida.
As things stand now, the candidates for Majority Leader are conservative House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia, who is not a part the Boehner inner circle, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise – the third leg of Boehner’s leadership team in the current House Republican hierarchy.
There are at least four candidates or potential candidates for Republican Whip: Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), and Pete Sessions (TX-32). McHenry is Chief Deputy Whip and a reliable Boehner supporter, so is Mullin who has always been a reliable Boehner vote, as is Pete Sessions, who as Chairman of the House Rules Committee has been the chief floor manager of Boehner’s many cave-ins to Obama. Of the announced candidates for Whip only Florida Representative Dennis Ross has shown any inclination to stand for conservative principles if it meant bucking the leadership.
In my analysis, there are four kinds of Republicans in the House:
- The vast majority of House Republicans are politicians who have gotten themselves elected to the best job they will ever have, don’t want to screw it up, and are happy to go along with the leadership and join the incumbent protection racket.
- Then there is a small group, 6 to 12, of admittedly progressive or so-called moderate Republicans who will almost never vote for the conservative agenda.
- There are also some who are “establishment conservatives,” mostly committee chairmen, like Jason Chaffetz, and other rising members, like Patrick McHenry, who claim to be personally conservative, and may adopt a conservative issue or two, but who won’t rock the boat and vote against the leadership and jeopardize their prospects for advancement.
- Finally, there are 35 to 40 committed conservatives who are willing to work night and day to advance the conservative agenda.
The way I see it nothing will change in the House if you just move everybody in the Boehner leadership team up a slot. As liberty-minded Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky observed, “they’ve all been a party to the misdeeds that Boehner has committed,” like rushing legislation to the floor without giving the people time read the bills, kicking conservatives off their committees, and taking away their subcommittee chairmanships. Only a thorough house cleaning will unify the House GOP and undo the damage Boehner’s high handed leadership style created.
As I explained in my book TAKEOVER, for the past 100 years we conservatives have had our political guns aimed at the wrong target. During the entire century-long civil war in the Republican Party, the progressive establishment leadership of the GOP has been selling the notion that the Democrats and the liberals are the problem, and that if conservatives would only line up behind establishment Republicans and put them in charge of the federal government, the growth of government and America’s slide toward socialism would stop.
And as the reigns of John Boehner as Speaker of the House and Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader of the Senate have shown, nothing could be further from the truth.
The only way we conservatives are going to be able to achieve our goal of governing America according to conservative principles is to first defeat the Republican establishment and replace establishment Republican leaders with principled limited government constitutional conservatives who will actually fight for our agenda.
That means electing a conservative as Speaker and then filling the House Republican leadership team with limited government constitutional conservatives are the next battles in the long war to govern America according to conservative principles.
If my analysis of the House Republican Conference holds true then we conservatives must convince those Republican politicians who want to stay in the best job they ever had that there is a cost to electing another House leadership team made up of establishment Republicans, and that cost is the loss of the best job they ever had.
And the only way to do that is to primary any Republican who does not have the courage to vote for a principled limited government constitutional conservatives, like Representative Daniel Webster, for all of the House leadership positions.
As I explained in TAKEOVER: The first, and greatest, impediment to governing America according to conservative principles is not the Democrats and the Left, it is the Republican establishment.
The vote for Speaker is a foolproof litmus test as to whether or not your Republican Representative is for conservative government, or against conservative government, and if they are not willing to fight for us, they must be challenged in the primary.
While the votes for Majority Leader and Whip take place behind closed doors, the vote for Speaker is a public rollcall vote on the Floor of the House – there’s no hiding from it, so we will know who had the courage to say they want conservative leadership in the House of Representatives and who is willing to let the principle-free status quo continue.
Over the next two days conservatives should be burning up the phone lines in two directions; the first is calling their Representative and letting them know that we are watching how they vote and that we demand they vote for a conservative, such as Daniel Webster, as Speaker.
Then the other direction the phone lines should be burning is to recruit conservative candidates for the upcoming Republican congressional primaries, so that we add to the numbers of principled limited government constitutional conservatives who have filed in the Republican congressional primary, like Becky Gerritson has in Alabama-2 (against incumbent Martha Roby), like Frank Roche and Jim Duncan have in NC-2 (against incumbent Renee Ellmers) and like Russell Ramsland is contemplating in TX-32 (against incumbent Pete Sessions).