Tuesday looked like a bad day for the Republican Party as the House GOP leadership suffered two stunning losses: First, the House failed to move the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and later, to pass a stand-alone bill to provide aid to Israel amid its conflict with Hamas.
In the wake of the two failed votes Speaker Mike Johnson took a beating from the media and DC pundit class.
"What would you say to Americans concerned that Congress isn't able to do basic functions?" Johnson was asked by ABC News' Jay O'Brien.
Johnson’s answer was nerdy, but not inaccurate. "It's just simply not true. We're governing here. Sometimes it's messy."
"The framers anticipated that you would have a system where people with very different philosophical viewpoints, that come from different parts of the country and different constituencies would have different ideas on how to resolve their problems," he continued.
"But what they also anticipated is that we'd be able to get in the room and arm wrestle over public policy and come to consensus to move the ball forward for the most people."
Left unsaid was the real reason that the two votes failed is that the House Republican Conference does not reflect the 21st century Republican coalition of limited government constitutional conservatives, American sovereignty and border hardliners and spending hawks.
Legislators who reflect those ideological positions might be a majority in the House Republican Conference, but the Conference is nowhere near unanimous on those issues.
Indeed, many House Republicans – particularly among the more senior in terms of tenure in Congress – are much more reflective of the old George Bush – Paul Ryan Globalist Chamber of Commerce Republicanism, than they are the populist America First conservatism of today’s grassroots Republican Party.
Which is why, when Republicans at the grassroots level ask, “How could Reps. Buck, McClintock and Gallagher vote against impeaching DHS Secretary Mayorkas?” The easy answer is “because they are on the other side.”
Republicans like Buck, McClintock and Gallagher reflect the dying embers of the old establishment Republican coalition that put George W. Bush in the White House and nominated Mitt Romney and John McCain for president.
(Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, technically voted no by switching his vote at the last minute in a procedural move to be able to bring the resolution back to the floor, so don’t get sore at him.)
The positions and values they hold are what Republican Primary voters rejected in 2016 and their opposition has only grown stronger and more vehement in the ensuing years.
So, how does the Republican Party resolve this ideological schizophrenia?
By defeating establishment Republicans like Reps. Buck, McClintock and Gallagher in Republican primary elections and replacing them with limited government constitutional conservatives.
This is hard work that takes more than sending a Tweet or two and grousing to your friends at the coffee shop or diner.
Back in 2015, Phyllis Schlafly, the late First Lady of the Conservative Movement announced she was convening the first #WhiteFlagCongress townhall at her Eagle Forum headquarters in St. Louis.
The purpose of the #WiteFlagCongress campaign she said was:
At this pivotal moment in U.S. history, when our leaders ought to be standing stronger and fighting harder than ever for us - they've chosen to wave a white flag in the face of government overreach and overspending. The only thing that gets their attention is a primary! Every one of them is guilty until proven innocent! Primary Them!
Our fundamental document, the Constitution, Article One, Section One, begins: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." The rest of Article One sets forth the many powers that the framers allocated to what they thought would be the most powerful of our three branches of government.
Yet throughout the Biden presidency the establishment Republicans in Congress have consistently refused to exercise those powers to rein-in President Biden in his quest to follow Obama in his quest to unilaterally fundamentally transform America.
Mrs. Schlafly was right back in 2015, and as we have detailed in a number of columns, nothing seems to have changed because the Members of Congress haven’t changed!
For many years the Capitol Hill Republican establishment skated along through a culture of “show votes” to protect vulnerable Republican incumbents from conservative primary challengers, but conservatives have wised up, and Speaker Johnson – to his credit – has put real “come to Jesus” votes like the Mayorkas impeachment on the Floor to let us know who is for us and who is against us.
Now is the time for the Republican Party, and especially its Members of Congress, to face a trial by fire. And through the fire of primary elections to purge those who cling to the old ideology that the grassroots voters long ago rejected.
Governor Gregg Abbott
Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford
Eagle Pass Texas
razor wire fencing
border patrol agents
Rep. Chip Roy
Article IV, Section 4