GOP Led By False Prophets For Profits

This week’s Courier Herald column:

A little more than two weeks ago, the people who proclaim to be the “true conservatives” and “the base” of the Republican party got their wish. John Boehner got “fired”. He actually agreed to resign, upon the naming of his successor. No matter. From those demanding his head, and those more than willing to pour gas on that fire, victory was declared.

Last week those same folks claimed victory again. Those whose entire plan for the U.S. House stopped at “fire Boehner” are now claiming success in that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will also not be Speaker. This time, however, the group of roughly 40 Congressmen most willing to appease the naysayers settled on a plan: They wanted Daniel Webster of Florida.

Never mind that Florida is undergoing court ordered redistricting and according to NPR’s Jessica Taylor, Webster’s seat is proposed to go from a +4 Republican advantage to a +18 Democratic advantage. The House Freedom Caucus isn’t known for setting up long term strategy, so asking them not to set up a Democratic defeat of a sitting Speaker would apparently be too much to ask.

Long-term strategy isn’t important to those who have hijacked the “conservative” label. These are the people that see no irony in calling themselves “the base” yet threaten to sit out every election. What is important to these folks – or at least to those that prey upon them – is the ability to keep them angry. Angry people are usually willing to put aside pesky details like strategy or even truth so long as their anger is fed. And there are plenty willing to feed this anger – for a price.

The “Tea Party Leadership Fund” has been sending constant emails to draft Trey Gowdy for Speaker. The problem is Gowdy has stated emphatically he doesn’t want the job. These emails claim Utah’s Mia Love is behind the effort. Love had been supporting Jason Chaffetz for the post. The one consistent non-debatable point of each email? The request for donation to support their effort.

Anti-Establishment leaders are famous for challenging their supporters to follow the money. I hope those that have donated to this ruse will demand the same of whichever leaders are being funded by this effort.

Then there’s FreedomWorks. This organization sent out a self-congratulatory email on Boehner’s announcement stating “We did it! We’ve forced Boehner to resign as Speaker of the House!” Upon McCarthy withdrawing from the race they dispatched another email claiming victory.

What is the victory? The defeat of another Republican leader. There are no victories beyond that. Conservatives have moved from “Fire Boehner” to “Defeat McCarthy” to….no one is really sure.

It is now easier to nail Jello to a wall than it is to get conservatives to define victory. Why is that? Because Jello is a clearly defined product with an established brand. Conservatives have no idea what their brand represents, nor have any desire nor apparently any idea how to actually define victory.

Paul Ryan is reluctantly waiting in the wings, understanding that he is the closest person that is trusted by mainstream conservative Republicans and mostly acceptable to the “conservative” far right. I say mostly because that goal post too is being moved.

Writers at Brietbart have called Ryan the “Absolutely worst choice”. Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly calls Ryan “the same type of leader as outgoing Speaker Boehner”. And of course, she invokes the most famous line of those that articulate problems but no actual strategic plan for success saying, “This is not about personality, it’s about principle.”

Ah, principles. Those things that you hold dear, but not dear enough to take the time to articulate a plan to have them enacted or protected.

The point is clear. The False Prophets for Profit – those who make money off of conservative donors by attacking conservative leaders – will waste no time in “leading” by opposing whomever may try to lead next. Otherwise, they too may be called “establishment” or even worse – They may actually have to assume some of the responsibility of governing.

There are many that only want to point out problems. Too many of them make a good living off doing that, and little more.

There’s nothing wrong with making money in a capitalist system. There’s a bit more of an issue of those that assume a moral superiority by asserting “principle” when their end goal appears to be “principal”.

We have an entire generation of activists and grassroots that have allowed themselves to be defined by what they are against, and thus now have no idea how to select a leader that can articulate what we are for. Those who make money off what we’re against are quite adept at changing their message as fast as leaders can put new plans on the table.

The result is that we enter an election for the White House where Republicans will ask the nation to trust them to lead the one office that has been elusive for the last two election cycles. One where the heir apparent to the incumbent is unliked by independents and is mired in scandal. And Republicans will ask those same independents to trust them to lead, when they can’t even decide a leadership position among themselves.

It’s an interesting strategy if one expects electoral success. It makes a lot more sense when you understand that many of our grassroots leaders make more money by complaining while being in a minority party than by being a constructive part of a majority one.

52 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    No different than business, people get all hyped about the concept, yet success comes down to the basic blocking and tackling, all about implementation. In any deal, what you put on paper gets adjusted based on the reality of the situation, if not you fail. Some people get paid by the hype, not making it work, which why you must be careful to separate what is doable, but what is being sold.

    The latest spewing, which is normal, focus is on an emotional appeal, not even a real cure. We need to focus on entitlement reform if we are serious about the budget not shutting down Planned Parenthood, which is a rounding error via the budget issue.

    The so called conservatives would rather believe the tooth fairy type BS from people making cash off that, selling killing programs like PP will solve the problem. Best summed up by the vast majority of Tea Party members demanding their Medicare, which is about 75% is subsidized by tax payers and the part of budget blowing up the debt, while screaming about socialism.

    Great post, time for a reality check. BTW it is laughable that Ryan, one of the only officeholders in Washington with the guts to deal with entilments is some how not conservative enough. God help us!

    • Baker says:

      Totally agree with you… Except the PP issue is not a budget issue. No one was saying that stopping the PP funding was going to solve the budget problems. Pretty much every Republican is in favor of stopping PP funding, even those that have talked at length about fixing entitlements…

      • Baker says:

        “No one was saying that stopping the PP funding was going to solve the budget problems.”

        Except maybe Mike Huckabee because he is probably the worst of the serial panderers.

  2. blakeage80 says:

    It’s a shame to see ‘Conservatives’ ruining the actual word. This also explains why I was so confused when I found out that Paul Ryan was a liberal (according to Conservatives) when I thought he was a budget hero. Thanks, Charlie.

  3. Three Jack says:

    Thanks Charlie! This column points out the main reason many of us exited the TP early as we realized it is just one more vehicle to enrich Ralph Reed disciples. Unfortunately there are far more out there willing to continue funding these folks despite their collective lack of success in actually accomplishing anything.

  4. Kent Kingsley says:

    I’ll take a bit of a different view than was expressed in the article or by those that have commented. Speaker Boehner was not “forced” to resign, he choose to resign. Boehner could have stayed until 2017 but decided on his own to resign. What is the long term strategy of the “mainline” conservatives that are in charge? Why haven’t they proposed a method to reign in entitlement spending? Why haven’t they proposed a balanced budget? Why haven’t they passed appropriation bills this year? Why haven’t they passed and sent to the Senate legislation to reduce the size and scope of the federal government? Tax reform, no plan for that either. Finally, why haven’t the mainline conservatives decided on a single plan that would replace Obamacare?

    You can be as critical of the Daniel Webster/Jim Jordan folks for not having detailed plans for the future and that is fair. But where are the plans from those that have been in charge? If you know what those plans are, please share them with us.

    • Charlie says:

      Even without the White House, the GOP has reduced discretionary spending. Not “cut the rate of growth”, but reduced.

      To get it to balance in the time you’ve allowed we would have had to cut entitlements. You know who has put the only solid plan on the table to do that? Paul Freaking Ryan. The guy you guys now think isn’t conservative enough.

      • Kent Kingsley says:

        “You guys”, not me Charlie I like Paul a lot and think he is presidential timber one day. The reduction in discretionary spending is in large part on the back of the military. Probably the one area that should not have been cut, though I will be the first to say there are savings to be found in the defense budget.

        My only problem with Ryan’s path was it took to long. I have to say you failed to mention all the other areas I raised. Normally omission is normally a sign of agreement. Glad we agree on this one.

        • Baker says:

          “Why haven’t they proposed a method to reign in entitlement spending?” See Charlie’s point about Paul Ryan. He did propose a method to reign in entitlements. The only presidential candidate to seriously talk about doing so is from New Jersey and apparently, because he wanted Federal aid after a giant natural disaster, he’s not a conservative.

          “Why haven’t they proposed a balanced budget?” You mean this one –>> http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/03/25/gop-controlled-house-approves-balanced-budget-plan/

          “Why haven’t they passed appropriation bills this year?”
          You mean like these –>> https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/Appropriations+for+Fiscal+Year+2015
          Note the numerous times the House passed a bill and then it never got voted on in the Senate because Harry Reid won’t let bills get to the floor.

          “Why haven’t they passed and sent to the Senate legislation to reduce the size and scope of the federal government?” Uh. That’s every bill that comes out of the House and then isn’t allowed to be voted on in the Senate.

          “Tax reform, no plan for that either.” These are a step–>> http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150416/FREE/150419940/house-passes-two-tax-reform-bills

          “Finally, why haven’t the mainline conservatives decided on a single plan that would replace Obamacare?” There are others that will have a better answer on this and your other questions but this is at least one plan –>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowering_Patients_First_Act

          • Kent Kingsley says:

            1, Entitlements- “He did propose…” He proposed but did not pass.
            2. Balanced Budget- “The plans themselves are non-binding and do not require a presidential signature.” In other words it was just a piece of paper.
            3. Appropriations Bills- “Note the numerous times the House passed a bill and then it never got voted on in the Senate because Harry Reid won’t let bills get to the floor.” What Reid does or doesn’t do has nothing to do with the House doing their business. They haven’t passed 2016 appropriation bills.
            4. Why haven’t they passed and sent to the Senate legislation to reduce the size and scope of the federal government.- Really? Some how I missed the bill to eliminate the Dept. of Education.
            5. Tax reform- “house-passes-two-tax-reform-bills” Partial credit, it was not comprehensive reform.
            6. Obamacare- “Empowering_Patients_First_Act” Did it pass the house?

                • Kent Kingsley says:

                  “He types in contradictions.” I agree. The republican Congress runs for office saying they will do…or attempt to do certain things and when in office don’t do or attempt to do them. That is the contradiction.

                  • xdog says:

                    You say contradiction, I say fantasy. Just because the rubes accept BS as gospel doesn’t mean it’s not still BS.

                    • Kent Kingsley says:

                      Baker-

                      I saw the Hume last night and I agree with some of what he said. All I am simply saying is republicans (congressional republicans) ran for office saying they would do certain things. The current leadership has not attempted to do most of those things.

                      Yes I understand Obama would veto abolishing the Dept. of Education for instance, assuming it passed in the Senate. That’s ok, at least an effort was made. The 40 rascals as I understand are upset as much by Boehner’s heavy handed approach to them as they are about a lack of conservative legislation.

                    • TheEiger says:

                      Ah ha. You have just pointed out who sold you the Sh*t sandwich you are eating.

                      “All I am simply saying is republicans (congressional republicans) ran for office saying they would do certain things.” They lied to you about what was possible. Plain and simple. Leadership didn’t lie to you. The people that told you that if we shut the government down then ObamaCare would go away lied to you.

                    • Kent Kingsley says:

                      Baker let me add, the frustration with “conservatives” goes well beyond this leadership team or the past 7 years of Obama. Under Bush with republican majorities in Congress did we ever balance a budget? Did we shrink the size and scope of the federal government? I could go on and on but the point is we are where we are, which in my opinion is not a fiscally responsible place. When will it ever get better? Who will make it better?

                    • Kent Kingsley says:

                      The Eiger-

                      You make a huge assumption that I want to shut down the government, you are wrong and I have never written that. Debt ceiling, extend it but how about a little compromise to make it later rather than soon to have to extend it again.

                      Same with the budget, pass conservative appropriation bills and if Obama won’t sign it, compromise some but get something out of it. BTW, what ever sandwich I am eating, you are eating the same one and so is the entire nation.

  5. saltycracker says:

    Conservative/tea partier in poli-speak have become euphemisms for the fundamentalists in the church of the less government.

  6. Raleigh says:

    Just how much did Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid pay attention to the “minority” Republican Party during President Obama’s first two years in office? Answer none, they were totally locked out of the process even though the Democrats didn’t have a filibuster proof majority in the senate. Obama Care passed and was signed into law. The entire time Republicans who had their hat handed to them were whining that if we could just get the house back we could stop the Democrats. They got the house back. Next the excuse was if we could just get majority in the senate we can stop the president’s radical agenda. They got the senate back. Conservatives helped make that a reality. Ok so what has happened? Have “Conservatives” won on just ONE thing the smaller government lower taxes Republicans have promised? Has any serious part of Obamacare been repealed? Has there been any meaningful legislations aimed at fixing the Illegal Alien problem? Has Planned Parenthood lost ANY funding?

    Now you guys are crying that you need the presidency too and you’re upset that you need the “Evil Conservative” faction in order to pull it off. Why should they help when the rest of the Republican establishment treats them the same way Nancy and Harry treated Republicans when they had the majority. I think now it can be said the Republican Party is “inclusive” unless you are a conservative and really want Smaller Government Lower Taxes. From what I see you guys will likely lose the presidency and it is you own fault. I remind you Democrat Tip O’Neil shut down the government 7 times under Reagan and 5 times under Carter yet Boehner and McConnell vowed never to allow that to happen. Why, because they are scared they will get the blame. It’s the Establishment Republicans that have no ideas to offer. The Democrats know you’re weak. They exploit it and beat you with it every single day and which is sad to see.

    I hope when Republicans finally purge the party of their conservative members the last conservatives take down the “Smaller Government Lower Taxes” sign when they leave. It will need to be replaced by a sign that states, “We Grow Government and Taxes just like the Democrats, just not quite as fast.”

    • Charlie says:

      I’m sorry, but enough with the damn victimhood.

      You have less than 40 memebers of Congress saying “vote exactly as we say, or we walk and let Pelosi have it”, and it’s the 200 left and their supporters that are conducting a purge?

      No one is telling anyone to leave. You and those you support constantly threaten to leave if you don’t get 100% of what you want.

      You have an amazing ability to create your own realities.

      • Raleigh says:

        And you are letting only 40 members drive the 200 but you damn sure wanted their help until they wanted something back in return. Now I agree enough with the victimhood either compromise with your conservative faction or tell them there is no room at the table for them and quit whining.

        It’s your “Republican Establishment” that created their own realities and now you have to live with it.

        • Charlie says:

          In the same interview on Meet the Press yesterday, David Bratt said his condition was more bottom up management to get legislation to the floor, and then criticized his colleague for letting the Ex-Im renewal to the floor.

          Do you know why it didn’t get to the floor? Because Boehner and company listened to the “conservatives” and kept it bottled up. Do you know what’s going to happen if/when Bratt and the Freedom Caucus get what they want? You’re going to get a lot more of what you don’t want on the floor.

          You guys literally want to have it both ways, and then want to blame someone else for it.

          • xdog says:

            Ex-Im is small potatoes. What happens next month when Speaker Gohmert bottles up legislation to keep the country out of default? That’ll play well with the fringe for sure and the rest of the House will say ‘Yes, that certainly is a shame’ and hope they don’t get primaryed.

            Boehner wouldn’t let the House consider the Senate bill to restock the Highway fund or the gang of 7 immigration reform bill and I don’t see how that inaction benefited the country. Plenty of people were pushing for those bills but because of the few they were DOA.

            • John Konop says:

              As soon as stock market drops a few thousand points, checks stop going out…..reality will set in. A government shut down sounds like a great idea for crazy rock fans angry and high…..until reality sets in they have no money in savings….and without SS, Medicare, government job….the world is very rough place….

      • Tea Party says:

        Ha Ha. Good one.

        “To each according to their need, from each according to their contribution,” could not account for the meteoric rise in medical costs even in a Socialistic Paradise.

        Sadly, the Tea Party is clumsily trying to put their ‘pieces on the board,’ by any means necessary, even at the expense of ‘primarying’ a sitting, safe GOP seat, i.e. Sen. Fran Millar. We have some dopey GOP party bosses, and then there is DeKalb GOP.

  7. joe says:

    Since Webster will soon be redistricted into obscurity, he just might be a good short term Speaker until the new Congress is elected. Since none of the previous Speakers ever became President, it appears to be a dead-end job for a politician. Long term Speakers end up with too much power.

  8. Progressive Dem says:

    For a group that supposedly reveres the form of government designed by the framers, the “Freedom Caucus” has somehow forgotten a few basics in the Constitution and American government. We have a bicameral legislature. Having 40 votes in one house is insufficient to pass a bill in both chambers. There is a separation of powers between the three branches. A 40 member minority can’t dictate to the courts or the presidency. The senate is elected with 6 year terms to provide stability and resist radical change. American democracy with separate and divided authority requires compromise. Accommodating different views is almost always a fundamental for formulating government policies.

  9. Trey A. says:

    I listened to some AM talk radio (ground zero for the false profits of prophet) on the day McCarthy took himself out of the running and Erik Erickson (cough cough) had some goofball from Paul Broun’s Fire McCarthy campaign on there gloating and talking about an “alleged affair between McCarthy and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.”

    I thought Erick would shut that down, but instead Peach Pundit’s founder egged the guy on and even agreed with him that “it is the worst kept secret in Washington” and that Ellmers sounded like a “jilted ex-girlfriend” when she was quoted about McCarthy’s decision to run for speaker.

    Never mind that no legitimate media source had reported on the alleged “affair” and that the source of the vicious rumor, Charles Johnson’s one-man-delusional-“news”-outlet gotnews.com, is among the least credible websites in the country. This is the same Charles Johnson who “broke the story” that President Obama is actually a homosexual.

    Of course, both Erick and the Paul Broun guy celebrated McCarthy’s withdrawal from contention.

    And Erick has since defended his “reporting” of the rumor, of course.

      • John Konop says:

        The other 2 areas that are material is student loan liability and military….You could argue ending the War on Drugs would lift productivity and help lower entitlment cost, law inforcement….

        That is why we need a real debate about the above combined with SS and Medicare/Medicaide. If not it is all smoke and mirrors about the budget issues….

  10. seenbetrdayz says:

    Come off it Charlie.

    I’d like to know how the term ‘false prophet’ doesn’t apply to a party that has promised limited government for the past several DECADES and yet has grown it at every opportunity.

    And you want to talk about fundraising as though it is somehow unique to these groups? How much money has the GOP raised over the years by duping people into believing it actually supports things like balanced budgets?

    Go look in the mirror when you want to talk about false prophets or snake-oil salesmen.

  11. Tea Party says:

    All I know for sure is that at the end of the day, it’s dark.

    “We winge, whine, wail, and wonder why nothing changes for the betterment of our Country as we continue to polarize, i.e. Bernie and Trump. The oligarchs sit back, laughing, at the rubes.”

    “The GOP and Dems are both culpable, neither is able to resolve issue of national importance because the ‘black hand’ wants it that way. Read “Data and Goliath,’ then wipe your teary eyes with a tattered Bill of Rights and Constitution.”

    “Both Parties claim that total and utter destruction of all we know is the inevitable conclusion – We can’t fix it, it’s too broken, it has to implode and then we can rebuild.”

    Well I don’t buy any of it, we will muddle along, much like Japan, until either a epic crisis affects us all or a new technology, like making energy free, emerges.

    • Charlie says:

      Which is precisely why the ability to define “victory” is so important.

      If you look at many of the prophets for profits from the right, they’re not talking about fixing anything or getting us to a better place. Or if they are, they certainly only use that as part of their messaging to lure you in, but don’t get near any plan or actions that would lead us there. The message is one of stopping our own leaders, of tearing down, or even blowing it all up.

      They want us to assume when that happens that we’ll emerge in come sort of 1776 patriotic and economic nirvana. The reality is that if they are successful, what emerges will be far worse than what most could imagine.

      We have to get not only our own people, but independents and even dems to buy into what we are for. If we can’t do that, it doesn’t matter what we’re against, because we’re just going to get a lot more of it.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        You speak as though the Republican leaders were just so close to coming up with solutions before those rascally ‘ole extremists came on the scene. Pardon me while I take a moment to laugh. . .

        The fact of the matter is that all you really saw from republican leadership, prior to groups like Freedomworks, the Tea Party, or the House Freedom Caucus, was a looonnnng line of ‘leaders’ who were good at kicking cans down the road and avoiding the ‘tough decisions’ you claim are required to be made as the mark of a good leader. So if the 40 or so members just up and disappeared and were no longer a nuisance to anyone, we’d suddenly be showered with ‘solutions’ by ‘adult’ leaders and government would keep running like clockwork (if the clock in question is the debt clock). Let’s dial the clock back to pre-2010 Tea Party waves and see ask ourselves if we’d be better off today, with or without these groups, if they had never existed.

        I present to you the possibility that the rise of the House Freedom Caucus et. al. was not for the sake of opposing leadership, but came into existence as a result of a gross lack of it. But please continue with your ‘true prophecy’ that if it weren’t for these groups we’d be able to govern, even though the really big screw ups like the Housing Crisis occurred well before the Tea Party existed.

        Yeah, everything was well-in-hand before these nutters showed up. If only they’d just shut up, sit in the back somewhere, and let the adults “govern.”

        • saltycracker says:

          And the hope of those factions turned us into fractions as no cohesive direction emerged. The party is still expanding into points of light. The cure is not rallying around the CofC or an all providing bureaucracy or one that expresses our issues very dramatically but with no real way out except faith in him/her. Leaders that appeal to the emotions are followed by mobs.

        • Charlie says:

          I’ve never called you a nutter.

          You’re a fatalist. You’ve already given up. And you only “participate” in politics for schadenfreude. Quite the “patriot” you are.

          You’re wasting your time, and others.

          • seenbetrdayz says:

            And why do you participate, Charlie? What goals were you just so close to achieving when you supported the status quo all those years, and continue to do so? Near as I can see, your only purpose is to defend those in power, no matter what,’ damn the torpedoes.’ And that has done practically nothing to curtail debt, entitlements, regulations, loss of liberties, etc. etc. etc., and you’ve been at this longer than most. I would expect more results from the ‘adults’ in the room.

            So ,What’s your excuse, huh? What has decades of following the ‘true prophets’ who aren’t in it for ‘profits’ gotten us? —Since apparently the false prophets are leading people astray, but astray from what? Incompetence?

            And of course when the people in power have let things slide so far for so long, is it any wonder that people get angry? Did we just wake up one day and say to ourselves, ‘I’m gonna be angry for the sake of anger?’ Examine the root causes.

        • Tea Party says:

          The Tea Party movement coupled with whatever the nom de gurre for today’s religious ‘right’ became are not the problem.

          The problem is the lack of willingness to identify true needs, social wants, and apply time-honored statesmanship to achieve objectives of national importance. The GOP is so fractured right now that even though we are the majority in both House/Senate we cannot agree how to govern those bodies.

          Tea Party is not the problem – they are an embodiment a solution to budget issues that must be addressed on no less than NatSec priorities. TP cannot use a symbolic effort to shut down Dept. of Educ., for example. It does nothing.

          As long as Dems oppose rational and actual spending cuts (not rate of growth cuts as Charlie pointed out) we will nip around the edges until a crisis or a game-changing event appears.

          Like Japan.

      • Rick Day of Ellijay says:

        Now you are talking Revolution!

        Can I be the old guy drummer?

        Seriously, this conversation is going on on the Bernie Boards on Reddit now, only with sHillary and Obummer as the Boner and Kev.

        Everyone is focused on the problem; the influence of money in government that benefits only a few hundred thousand. I assure you there is more common ground than either of you are comfortable admitting.

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