Folks, we’ve got a problem. There is no conservative leadership inside of Washington to serve as a firewall against Obama’s impending socialist onslaught. We’ve spent the past two years refusing to fight Obamacare, the fiscal cliff, or the debt. These issues were totally absent from the campaign. Whether we like it or not, the House of Representatives must serve as our lifeline, an oasis of constitutional conservatism amidst the European ideals.
Ideally, it would be great to have one of our own in a leadership position in the House. Unfortunately, the current crop of GOP leaders will remain at their posts. Consequently, the most important remaining contested position in the 113th Congress is Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Yes, we are all wary of elections, but we must engage in one more election. We must elect a conservative leader in the House to stand up for the Constitution (and the “48%” who voted against socialism) inside of Congress. We must urge our Republican members to vote for Tom Graves as the next RSC Chair.
The RSC is the caucus of House conservatives who stand on principle fighting bad policies and promoting conservative policies, irrespective of the legislation put forth by Republican leadership. Not only do they serve as an anchor for the conservative members within Congress, they provide Tea Party outsiders with friends who are willing to push our agenda on the inside.
It goes without saying that the chairman of the RSC – who serves for two years – plays a critical role in standing up for conservatives within the party against all establishment forces. The role of RSC Chair is even more critical when Republicans control the House than when they are in the minority. Amidst Republican majority, the RSC Chair has to take a leadership role in opposing bad policies proposed by fellow party members.
While there are officially 164 members of the RSC, many of them are just members in name only – a facade to offer them conservative cover for their lack of conservative principles. However, the core 60-80 members, along with the RSC staff, serve as the beacon of limited government for the minority of true conservatives on Capitol Hill. These two factions are fighting for the heart and the sole of the Republican Study Committee.
The core conservative members are proud of outgoing-chairman Jim Jordan’s work. Jordan has done a superb job of standing tall for our promises and leading the charge against leadership when necessary. He stood as the bulwark against John Boehner’s debt ceiling capitulation from beginning to end. This is no small feat considering the fact that Jordan hails from the same state as the party leader. Conservatives, along with the former leaders of the RSC, have united in endorsing Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia as the next chairmen. They understand that now that Republicans control the House indefinitely, it is even more important to have an unvarnished conservative leader who will work independently from GOP leadership.
Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) has gathered enough signatures to force a vote during the November 14 RSC meeting. We have nothing against Scalise, and he would serve us well in other positions, but he is not reliable enough to meet the standards of a RSC Chair, especially when Republicans are in the majority, and especially against such an inviolable conservative as Tom Graves.
- Scalise voted for the omnibus, minibus, and all the CR spending pledge violations. Graves voted no. It’s on this issue where Jim Jordan distinguished himself as RSC Chair in leading the fight to stand on principle.
- Scalise has an 81% from Heritage Action; Tom Graves scores 97%. Graves has a near-perfect record on fiscal issues. While Scalise is no moderate, this is a time when we need a bullet-proof member to lead the conservative caucus. In 2011, Scalise scored a -11 on the MPI; Graves scored a +8.5.
- Most importantly, Scalise wants to work closely with Boehner; Graves will remain unvarnished, uncorrupted, and completely independent of the Republican leadership. Leadership is already circling the wagons around Scalise.
- Scalise intimated that Graves is all talk, saying, “It’s not enough just to talk about conservative values. We need to pass conservative policy.” However, Graves is the sponsor of the bill that would thoughtfully devolve transportation authority and the gas tax to states. It actually received a vote in the House. Scalise voted for the big federal transportation bill that continued funding mass transit and increased spending.
For most leadership positions, we don’t ask for perfection. A gradual improvement of the current crop would be good for conservatives. But for RSC Chair, we demand near-perfection. And that is exactly what we will get with Tom Graves.
There is clearly a silver lining in this presidential election. Independents broke against Obama by 5 points, and there are signs that we left some on the table. We won a record margin among white voters, even as many of our voters stood home (Romney won less votes than McCain, despite the large swing in Indys). Someone has to break the GOP out of the pale-pastel “no labels” mode it has followed until now in an effort to reach out to voters who are disenchanted with the status quo of the Republican Party. That man is Tom Graves.