For liberals, the thought of Republicans eating their young in Washington, D.C., makes for great theater and gives them reasons to chuckle.
For GOP stalwarts, the ouster of conservative Republicans from plum committee posts during a purge by House Speaker John Boehner is just another example of how the party has fallen on hard times of late.
Boehner this week yanked four conservative Republican lawmakers after they bucked party leaders on key votes. The casualties included our very own Tim Huelskamp, the first-term First District congressman from Fowler.
Huelskamp and Justin Amash of Michigan will lose their seats on the House Budget Committee chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan next year. And Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and David Schweikert of Arizona are losing their seats on the House Financial Services Committee.
“It is little wonder why Congress has a 16 percent approval rating: Americans send principled representatives to change Washington and get punished in return,” said Huelskamp, a Tea Party favorite, in a statement on his website. “The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement.”
He said he was blind-sided by the move. But, any politician will tell you that if you vote against the leadership, there will be consequences.
This is not the time nor place for a he-said, he-said spitting contest. The only ones privy to the discussions that took place behind closed doors where these decisions were made know the real reasoning behind them.
The right wing of the Republican Party made massive gains in the 2010 congressional election. These lawmakers came to power with their conservative agendas and the attitude that it would be their way or the highway – compromise be damned.
Perhaps the GOP leadership understands that in order to get anything done, compromises must be made. Perhaps it realized that a democracy is predicated on the notion of give and take to achieve what is best for the nation as a whole. Perhaps it just grew weary of the nasty divisiveness the ultra-right brought to Washington. Perhaps the leaders saw this as an opportunity to help bring about a solution to the nation’s “fiscal cliff.”
From a Kansan’s point of view, we lost a voice on one of the more important committee’s in Washington. We can only hope that this doesn’t come as blow to rural representation in Congress.
Let’s hope the sacrifice will be worth it.