Thursday, July 30, 2015

Happy 56th Birthday, Mark Meadows (R-NC)


To best understand the resolution North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows filed to oust Boehner as Speaker, let's go back to his message to Boehner last June and to Boehner's open secret of plotting against GOP "rebels"-- primarily members of the so-called Freedom Caucus-- with his pals at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Meadows has been complaining, publicly, that Boehner's tyrannical leadership style has created "a culture of punishment and fear." And, taken to the extreme, that led to Boehner backing the failed multimillion-dollar campaign by Establishment Big Business Republicans against libertarian Justin Amash (R-MI) and plans to find weaker members of the Freedom Caucus this cycle who can be defeated-- either in primaries or by conservative Democrats.

"There has been a suggestion," said Meadows in June, "that I should keep quiet and mind my manners for several months and then I will be given an opportunity to receive some of the benefits leadership allows. But if we allow ourselves to be bullied in the House of Representatives, how will we stand for Americans being stripped of their freedoms?" Tuesday Meadows, in fact, did the opposite, filing a resolution to "vacate the chair," which would remove Boehner as Speaker. Meadows' resolution went to the Rules Committee, where chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), a firm Boehner ally, is expected to kill it without a vote.
“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation about making this place work, where everybody’s voice matters, where it’s not a punitive culture,” said Meadows, who has felt the repercussions of bucking leadership.

Just last month, Meadows saw his subcommittee chairmanship revoked, then reinstated as leadership attempted to put the two-term congressman in his place for joining 33 other Republicans in trying to sink a key procedural rule vote on trade legislation.

In filing his motion in a non-privileged form-- meaning it did not require immediate consideration, or consideration at all-- Meadows said he wanted to see if just raising the issue of dissatisfaction with Boehner might prompt some changes at the top. He said he hoped for a “family discussion,” borrowing Boehner’s favorite euphemism for ugly intraparty fights.

But when he was asked if a lack of results on that front could culminate in Meadows bringing the motion up again, this time as privileged, Meadows was clear.

“Correct,” he said.

Republicans speculated Tuesday night that Meadows knew he didn’t have the votes at this point to remove Boehner and deliberately filed the motion as a non-privileged measure in order to let the prospect of a leadership change-- however far-fetched-- simmer over the monthlong August recess.

Speaking on background to scrums of reporters lingering near the Speaker’s Lobby, some lawmakers dismissed the attention-grabbing move as a gambit by Meadows to gin up fundraising. They also accused the North Carolina congressman of needlessly creating a distraction that could overshadow what many Republicans would prefer to focus for the next several weeks: Bashing President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Meadows objected to both accusations.

“I haven’t raised money off of anything that has happened to me in this House,” he said.

“There’s no one that’s been stronger on the Iran message, and to suggest we can only have one message when we go back home to talk to the American people would be to imply that our town halls can only have one question,” he said.
Fox News' well-connected chief congressional correspondent, Chad Pergram, reported: "In a single stroke, the rebellious congressman has not only infuriated the GOP leadership but scrambled their plans of using the August recess to focus on the Iran deal and a web of other issues. Now, the House goes into recess with this debate churning, even if the push stands little chance of succeeding."
"The Speaker has, through inaction, caused the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People," Meadows wrote in his resolution to bump Boehner from his leadership perch.

Betcha' Boehner didn't phone Meadows to wish him a happy birthday or send over a bottle of Duckhorn Merlot.

That said, a rambunctious group of Republican insurgents, contemptuous of the House GOP leadership, may be more than happy to fete the birthday boy. Twenty-five House Republicans voted for someone other than Boehner for speaker at the start of this Congress in January. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, voted "present."

"There's been a lot of discussion about leadership or the lack of leadership," said Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who waged a Quixotic effort of his own to claim the speaker's gavel over the winter. Yoho marshaled precisely two votes for speaker. His own and the ballot of Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.

"I'll probably support [the resolution]," said Yoho.

"This will be pervading our thoughts through the recess," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who backed Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., instead of Boehner. "It gives constituents the chance to lobby their members of Congress."

...Boehner loyalists could barely contain their anger as they stormed off the House floor Tuesday night, having just learned of Meadows' gambit.

"It's something that will disrupt our plans to talk about policy for the August recess," fumed Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La. "It's really damaging. We were trying to leave on a high note. It's divisive."

"People are stunned. People are angry that somebody would pull this stunt," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and a top Boehner lieutenant. "I thought we had gotten past all of this. It seems odd and bizarre."

Republicans had plotted an August agenda to hammer Democrats on the Iran nuclear deal, funding Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants, targeting by the IRS, Hillary Clinton's emails and ObamaCare.

And now...

"The August recess is going to be about a lot of things," Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said.
Late yesterday, Boehner was telling journalists that Meadows' effort to unseat him "frankly...isn't even deserving of a vote." He also said, "You've got a member here and a member there who are off the reservation. No big deal... I've got broad support among my colleagues." We'll see; Boehner's Congress has an 8% favorability rating among voters, the lowest in history.

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At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have any dog in this fight. I agree with Amash more often than I do with Boehner and the latter's "moderation" is that Washington Post kind of moderation I don't like in Democrats any better than I do in Republicans. That being said, I feel a little sorry for Boehner trying to run the House with a caucus that is as divided as his is. On the other hand, Meadows is absolutely correct about the House (and Senate for that matter) permitting its privileges and powers be eroded. I wish Democrats in the House had the guts to take on their defeated and super-annuated leadership after 2010 or 2014. But they don't.


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