Boehner purges Tea Party members over budget, Grover Norquist loyalty

Grover, Grover, Grover.

GOP House member Justin Amash posted a blistering broadside at the House Republican leadership last night, via Facebook, for being booted off a key House committee because of his insistence on voting against the House leadership in budget battles, and for Grover Norquist.

First, about losing their seats:

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) lost spots on the House Budget Committee, according to an aide. The Hill listed Amash earlier this year as one of the House GOP’s most frequent defectors.

In particular, Huelskamp cited a video he recently posted to his congressional website urging Republicans to adhere to the Taxpayer Protection Pledge advocated by Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform, as something that could have upset party leaders.

“It’s clearly meant to punish and penalize in a vindictive manner,” he added.

As Dave Weigel points out, Amash and Huelskamp, among others, are being punished for being too conservative, read: too Tea Party-friendly and too Grover-friendly:

Over the next two weeks, Washington bubbled with rumors of Republicans agreeing to raise taxes, and violate the pledge they’d made to Grover Norquist, if it got them a “grand bargain” that cut spending on entitlements. Huelskamp responded with a YouTube video in which he warned that “a lot of my colleagues appear ready to break their word,” but when he signed that pledge, he “meant it.” On Dec. 3, Republican leaders sent an open letter to President Obama admitting that their ideal plan couldn’t pass, but some combination of entitlement cuts and “revenue” enhancement could. Conservatives like Huelskamp attacked, joined by David Koch’s Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation.

This was when Huelskamp learned he’d lost the plum committee assignment. Joining him in exilewere Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who’d also been bounced from Budget, and Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, who’d lost a place on Financial Services. Huelskamp and Amash had both voted against Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget when it got into the committee, on the grounds that it didn’t balance fast enough….

Conservative activists interpret the Amash/Huelskamp/Schweikert purge as a rearguard action against the party base. There’s reason to believe them. The 2011 debt limit standoff cratered public opinion of the GOP, and when it didn’t recover, leaders started to criticize the new outside groups that had subjected Republicans to litmus tests, threatening them if they cast wayward votes. On Tuesday, Amash said he voted against the 2013 Ryan budget—after “voting with our team 95 percent of the time”—because “we did not take a strong enough stance in dealing with our debt.” That was exactly the argument made by Heritage Action, the campaign branch of the conservative think tank, which had launched in the Tea Party year of 2010. Republican leaders can’t punish Heritage, but it can punish back-benchers.

And here’s the blistering broadside against Boehner that Justin Amash posted on Facebook last night:

Rumor has it that I’ve been removed from the House Committee on the Budget. Remarkably, I still have not received a single call, e-mail, or text from Republican leadership confirming this story. In fact, I wouldn’t even have learned about it if not for the news reports. I look forward to hearing from my party’s leadership about why my principled, conservative voting record offends them. That’s sure to be a lively and entertaining conversation.

In the meantime, I can only speculate as to what specifically would make Republican leadership punish several of its party’s most principled members. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who was kicked off of both Budget and the Committee on Agriculture, voted with me against the 2013 House budget resolution because it does not sufficiently address the federal government’s debt crisis. That was one of only three times during this Congress that I voted against the Chairman’s recommendations in committee. In fact, I voted with the Republican Chairman more than 95% of the time, and I have voted with my party’s leadership more than three-quarters of the time on the House floor.

What message does leadership’s heavy-handedness send? It says that independent thinking won’t be tolerated, not even 5% of the time. It says that voting your conscience won’t be respected. It says that fulfilling your commitment to your constituents to work with both Republicans and Democrats to reduce our debt takes a back seat to the desires of corporate special interests. And, most troubling for our party, it says to the growing number of young believers in liberty that their views are not welcome here.

I’ll miss working with my colleagues on Budget. I don’t relish this situation, but if one thing is clear based on the response from the grassroots, it’s that leadership’s actions will backfire. If they think kicking me off of a committee will lead me to abandon my principles or stifle my bipartisan work toward a balanced budget, I have a message for them: You’re dead wrong.

Young believers in liberty?  You go get ‘em, Paul Revere.

Oh, and as an aside, I’m loving the comments on Amash’s Facebook page:

You’d think Jesus would know how to spell.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Coleman/100001217693049 Thomas Coleman

    “Paging Steny Hoyer. George Kaplan is here to see you!”

  • Butch1

    There would be no one on their committees, save an equal number of republicans. ;-)

  • Butch1

    Did this guy just graduate from high school? How puerile.

    For an “independent thinker” it’s interesting that he’s voted with the rest of the Tea Party 95% of the time. That doesn’t sound too “independent” to me.

  • rmthunter

    Just reading Amash’s post, “principled” is obviously code for “stubborn to the point of lunacy.” If politics is the art of compromise, then Amash and his fellows obviously don’t belong in Congress to begin with.

    But of course, the doesn’t get it.

  • LisaSpamier

    The sooner those tea party nut-jobs the sooner we have a chance at real compromise, and maybe a REAL solution. http://www.ficksitall.blogspot.com

  • Joneses

    I don’t believe it, its all show. Tea nuts have to save face by allowing taxes to be raised on their precious 1-2% and the Boner is doing just that.

  • silas1898

    I wonder how humiliating old man Dole will play with the base.

  • mamazboy

    FLL, you and Becca are really on it tonight! Thanks for the posts.

  • mamazboy

    Goodbye and good riddance to Norbert and the Tea Party morons in COngress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.perdue.98 Bill Perdue

    Democrats and Republicans only have ‘principles’ aimed at helping the rich, not workers.

  • nicho

    OT; GOP sabotages bill for disabled community

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/05/disability_community_shocked_and_hurt_by_last_minute_gop_treaty_reversal

    The organizations that advocate for disabled people and
    veterans were mortified when a number of Republican senators changed their
    stance at the last minute and abandoned their commitments to support a global treaty
    to expand the rights of people with disabilities, which
    failed in the Senate Tuesday.

    After months of diligent lobbying, these organizations were
    confident they had the support of several GOP senators who ended up opposing
    ratification of the U.N. Treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    The scene both inside and just outside the Senate chamber
    Tuesday before and during the vote was heart-wrenching, several observers said.
    Wounded war veterans and other disabled people filled the gallery above the
    floor and the hallways outside the chamber, expecting to celebrate months of
    effort, only to have those hopes shattered as the roll call vote was read
    aloud.

    “That was one of most shameful moments I’ve witnessed during
    my time in Washington,” one longtime senior Senate aide said. “I thought it was
    utterly appalling.”

    “The reaction was one of emotional hurt. There was weeping
    in the gallery,” said Morrissey, who added that disability groups will remember
    the GOP senators who torpedoed the treaty ratification effort and groups have
    labeled the 38 the “wall of shame.”

    I have run out of words to describe the lowlife that make up the GOP these days. They are what are usually referred to as SHPOS — subhuman pieces of shit.

  • FLL

    My apologies. I can see now that your comment about Amash running for speaker against the RINO Boehner was ironic, not serious.

  • Kelly

    Why can’t these tea party nut-jobs just go away! http://www.ficksitall.blogspot.com

  • Naja pallida

    Boehner IS a feckless putz. Always has been. Not much he can do to shake that.

  • Naja pallida

    If only.

  • FLL

    Thanks for the link. That story is truly depressing. The Clintons, of course, have their history with the Democratic Leadership Council, as well as Hillary’s vote authorizing Bush’s Iraq invasion. I had thought Cuomo could do better. His leadership in 2010 on marriage equality was fine, but this latest giveaway to New York State Republicans is just awful. Hillary and Andrew Cuomo both have spineless and foolish actions on their records that people need to remind them of constantly. They both need to understand that they don’t live in that fantasy “right-center” country that the Republicans are always talking about. If they did, then why did marriage equality and drug law reform win so big in November?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Smaller goverment is such a crock. You can’t be a world empire with ‘smaller goverment.’ It is possible that conservative mental midgets can only identify with ‘smaller,’

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    More like a Sea Urchin.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Then there’s the story out of NY State, where elected Dem state Senators GAVE control of the Senate to the GOP, as Dem Gov. Cuomo sits by and does nothing.

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2012/12/05/as-cuomo-sits-passively-republicans-take-over-new-york-state-senate-despite-losing-election/

  • silas1898

    Sorry the snark didn;t translate. The following quote is from Amash’s facebook. Good times. Teabaggers fighting wingnuts.

    “Justin
    We republicans are behind you. At least the REAL republican that
    believe in smaller Government. Ignore these RINO’s posting on
    here….they are a thing of the past…we are the future of the GOP and
    your principled stance gives us a reason to fight. We are calling
    Boehner by the thousands with our fury over this so called decision. I
    am contacting my representative and the OHIO GOP to ask that Boehnor be
    subject to a recall election. This Hack has got to GO!!!!!!!!!”

    It’s really fun if you can stand the smell.

  • Naja pallida

    Don’t you mean greedy corporatist with a spine? Wanting to drive the economy in the dirt so corporate interests can pillage the government coffers isn’t really all that conservative, considering it costs us all more in the long run.

  • Indigo

    Visualize responsible Democrats tossing all the Blue Dogs off the committees.
    Oh, wait . . . Mr. President . . . ?

  • FLL

    I wish Pelosi would take a page out of their book instead of giving the Blue Dogs the comfy chair with lots of pillows.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Sadly… you’re right. I should’ve said “In GOP politics…”

  • usagi

    In politics, that kind of behavior is not rewarded…

    Nonsense. The Democrats do it all the time.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    This is purely politics, and those “principled conservatives” like Amash shouldn’t be surprised that the hand they bit repeatedly is finally smacking them on the nose.

    Boehner really had no choice if he wanted to hang onto the Speakership. The wingnuts made him look like a feckless putz by failing to support the measures Boehner himself had negotiated. In politics, that kind of behavior is not rewarded, despite the hyper-cons bleating in complaint that all they were doing was being even more intractably obstructionist than even their party leadership wanted.

    I find it hilarious how Amash is so clueless he doesn’t understand why his lack of party loyalty on important votes and outspoken criticism of GOP leadership has led to negative consequences for him. Makes me want to ask him, “Dude, really, are you that dense? Party trumps ideology, every time.”

  • FLL

    Such fine distinctions you make. Unnecessarily fine distinctions. Category I would be Boehner, who wants to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but has a sufficient grasp of reality to realize that this isn’t an option since the opposition won the election. Category II would be the likes of Justin Amash, who only disagrees with Boehner on tactics, not substantive issues. Category III would be “liberals” who want Boehner, Amash, et al to win because they’re trying to kiss up to their Tea Party relatives in the vain hope that their “conservative” relatives will invite them over for the holidays instead of the usual, which would be punching them in the mouth and throwing their hated liberal ass out of the house. If you combine Category I, Category II and Category III, you have a coalition… of sorts… I suppose… but not a coalition that will ever win elections, it would seem. In spite of your fine distinctions, you could give all three categories the same reply: “The election is over and you lost.”

  • silas1898

    He should run for speaker! That RINO Boehner has to go!!

  • nicho

    Now if he only had a brain — but if he did, he wouldn’t be a conservative.

  • FLL

    I suppose there are some who cling to vain hope that Boehner and his cohorts will cow Obama into extending tax cuts for the millionaires/billionaires. As many have pointed out, this is not reality-based, which is not surprising since these wingnuts are the very same geniuses who predicted a Romney landslide. Boehner can see the writing on the wall, and he’s starting to crack. The tax cuts for the super-rich will almost certainly not be extended. Boehner’s supporters (open or covert) are grasping at straws, which is both humorous and sad to watch.

  • guest1

    Amash is one of the few conservatives with a spine

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