Conservative purge in the House Republican caucus?

posted at 9:41 am on December 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Has John Boehner decided to crack down on dissent within the House caucus?  Roll Call’s Jonathan Strong reports on a reshuffle of the committee-assignment deck that leaves a few conservatives without a hand in the coming fiscal-cliff fight:

Speaker John A. Boehner initiated today a small purge of rebellious Republicans — mostly conservatives — from prominent committees; it’s the latest instance of the Ohio Republican’s clamping down on his fractious conference.

The decisions were made by the GOP Steering Committee at a Monday meeting, which reviewed a spreadsheet listing each GOP lawmaker and how often he or she had voted with leadership, three sources said.

Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were booted from the Financial Services Committee. Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas were removed from the Budget Committee.

According to a source, Schweikert was told that he was ousted in part because his “votes were not in lockstep with leadership.”

The correlation to dissent may not cover the reshuffle entire, Strong reports.  For instance, Schweikart’s problem might be less his votes and more in the way he campaigned against Ben Quayle:

Schweikert defeated Rep. Ben Quayle in a contentious GOP primary and was not regarded as leadership’s first choice in that race. Schweikert’s tactics in the rough-and-tumble primary, according to several sources, rubbed leaders the wrong way.

A GOP lobbyist emailed about the Schweikert situation, “Wow. Don’t F w Jeb.” The reference was apparently to incoming Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the departing GOP Conference chairman.

When analyzing assignment changes, don’t entirely discount the personal over the political.  The fiscal cliff could be coincidental to this, as this is the normal time for reassessing committee assignments for the upcoming session of Congress.  These committee spots are given out for many reasons, and policy fealty is only one of them.  Anyone who has seen politics up close at any level learns quickly that the systems are set up to reward and punish based on the whims of those elected to leadership.

That’s why Nancy Pelosi was so eager to retain her leadership of the House Democratic Caucus.  It’s also why her decision prompted no rebellion among those whom she had either appointed or protected to get into leadership along with her.

However, the changes certainly appear to prepare Boehner to deliver on any agreement he makes with Harry Reid and Barack Obama.  That came up as an issue in the summer of 2011, when a back-bench revolt began to look likely as details of the “grand bargain” got leaked during the final days of the debt-limit crisis.  It signals that Boehner wants to have a carte blanche on negotiations this time around, and that his leadership appears ready to give it to him.

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Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

riddick on December 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM


bluefox on December 5, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Meh. I think that’s an over generalization. What should the state’s role be in the promotion of morality? I’d like to start at zero and only promote those things that are critical to a well functioning society. For example, promoting traditional marriage for raising well adjusted children is something worth considering. And I think that this being “moral” is almost beside the point; more important is that it works. Once it’s been decided what to promote, we also need to consider how to promote it – preferably with the least interference possible (is that tax breaks? I don’t know). Everything else should be left to private institutions.

besser tot als rot on December 4, 2012 at 5:19 PM

“Discipleship never consists in this or that specific action: it is always a decision, either for or against Jesus Christ.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

davidk on December 5, 2012 at 4:50 AM

LOL. Levin’s a joke. He supports statist, centralized power, and unconstitutional acts/actions such as the War Powers Resolution, and he’s trying to convince you he worries about tyranny?

Dante on December 4, 2012 at 3:37 PM


diogenes on December 5, 2012 at 7:05 AM


diogenes on December 5, 2012 at 7:05 AM


Dante on December 5, 2012 at 7:36 AM

I don’t like any taxes. Hell, I don’t like government. Calling my statist Senators and Representative isn’t going to change anything.

Dante on December 4, 2012 at 8:59 PM

I love this about you, Dante./

You speak as if you have some special knowledge of and reverence for the constitution, but every once in a great while your neo-anarch tendancies come shining through.

gryphon202 on December 5, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Regarding money going back to his district, that is one of the roles of Congress. The government seizes our money. Should money not be returned to a district?

Dante on December 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Evasion. You hold up trough-dweller Ron Paul as some kind of example of fiscal sanity, and then you talk about “sheep”. Raising taxes is one of the “roles of Congress” as well. So I guess those who vote for tax increases are automatically absolved.

ddrintn on December 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Without the conservative vote the Republican party becomes the minority. Will it take losing the House to bring these clowns to their senses?

As I’ve said a gazillion times–they could care. Their lifestyles don’t change. Being number two in Washington only is a penalty that matters if you are trying to change it (for better or worse)They love the status quo where the4y can pretend to be the opposition to the progressive blitzkreig from Hades. Their fat pensions, lobbyist friend’s dinners, limo life, big parties, media attention, doesn’t really change as the opposition politician has all the power they want, unless they happen to be principled people who love this nation and it’s Constitution. Nothing I’ve witnessed in the last many decades leads me to believe that could possibly be true, save for one or two minor exceptions(Reagan)

Don L on December 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Boehner is going to have a rough time in 2014 if he ignores the tea party. We’ll see how he holds up over the next year, but there’s absolutely no reason for us to put up with being marginalized by House leadership. We hold the reins within this party. Seems like he needs a reminder.

alwaysfiredup on December 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

The person Boehner SHOULD HAVE PURGED is….HIMSELF!

During the last debt ceiling ‘battle’ he rolled over with his @r$e up in the air like obama’s [email protected], goving him everything he wanted…
resulting in the 1st U.S. Credit rating Downgrade in U.S. history!

Word is he is about to drop ‘trou’ & roll over again….

easyt65 on December 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM

You speak as if you have some special knowledge of and reverence for the constitution, but every once in a great while your neo-anarch tendancies come shining through.

gryphon202 on December 5, 2012 at 9:39 AM

I don’t hide my anarcho-capitalist beliefs at all. I have no reverence for the Constitution; it’s a document (Reverence is a very odd word choice of yours. But if you wish to worship a piece of paper, go right ahead). While it may have been written with the best intentions, it is a flawed document, and it has done nothing to hold government in check.

Dante on December 5, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Why yes I did support Michelle Bachman the ONLY Conservative to run.?????????????

Buttercup on December 4, 2012 at 3:53 PM



cableguy615 on December 5, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Would like to see Boehner replaced. He can’t negotiate. And when he tries he shows fear and submissiveness. He thinks its statesmanship. WRONG! Growing a set to stand up for principles is statesmanship.

He’s allowed the GOP to get boxed in and blamed for everything dysfunctional with government. And like a blow up punching clown bag, he keeps popping up for more haymakers to the face.

Here’s he acid test: Go over the so called “fiscal cliff”. Don’t put fingerprints on anything that has Obama’s name on it. The press will scream and vilify the republicans. So what? Vote them all out then.

My bet is the mess will eventually shift to Obama who must then pick up the pieces and try to get something passed thru congres because people will be after his scalp.

kens on December 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I just heard on the Wilkow Majority from one of the congressmen that the GOP faction would prefer to keep Boehner, giving the old “we can’t change generals in the middle of a war” excuse. Unbelievable. Do these people not realize Boehner is a sellout? That he’s become just another “go along to get along” eunuch? This is more like a football season, and right now, the head coach needs to be fired. If the majority of the tea-party-approved GOP reps pick Boehner again, I’m declaring the Republicans a lost cause.

TMOverbeck on December 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Conservative purge in the House Republican caucus

This is PROOF POSITIVE that Boehner is simply a Liberal Mole!!!

Boehner and his ilk MUST BE PURGED from the Republican party if the party is to have any reason whatsoever for survival.

The nation does not need a “Fake Conservative” party to present phony and meaningless alternatives to a “Real Liberal” party.

landlines on December 6, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6