Political Animal


December 04, 2012 9:28 AM The House Purge of “True Conservatives”

By Ed Kilgore

Coming to a political column near you soon: a pat on the head for the Serious Adults of the House GOP for getting control of their caucus and putting conservative activists on notice that getting in the way of the ontologically essential Big Deficit Deal is unacceptable.

The pretext will be the “disciplining” of House wingnuts by their removal from key committees, most notably the dismissal of Tim Huelskamp and Justin Amash—both members of the class of 2010—from the Budget Committee.

Dave Weigel’s says conservatives are treating this phenomenon as “a purge of non-RINOs.” But what, specifically, did Huelskamp and Amash do to get sent to the principal’s office in the first place? They voted against adoption of the Ryan Budget last March on grounds that it didn’t cut spending enough.

So we are supposed to believe now that Paul Ryan defines “RINOism”? And we are supposed to give House Republicans Big Boy Merit Badges for refusing to give committee assignment perks to Class of 10ers so nutty that they believe Paul Ryan defines “RINOism”? I don’t think so.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Hedda Peraz on December 04, 2012 9:32 AM:

    Perhaps a pointed warning?
    Remember what happened to Leon Trotsky, during his visit to Mexico. . .

  • T2 on December 04, 2012 9:44 AM:

    I would assume, at this point, some GOPers are noticing that the TeaParty hard-right nuts that were popular in in 2010 are having a hard time getting elected in 2012. Continuing to bow to them may not be the way to start winning again.

  • BillFromPA on December 04, 2012 10:03 AM:

    T2, TeaParty candidates tend not to do too well with the electorate at large, making them one of our best allies. 2010 will not be repeated soon, but that said, they'll still call the tune in primaries. It's not a matter of the Grownups in the GOP bowing or not, the Grownups will have difficulty getting to the general election in the first place. I believe it's the South Carolina GOP that's considering replacing primaries with party cacuses, look for the old mainstream players regaining control in this manner. They flirted with the loons to garner votes, now the loons are dictating things.

  • T2 on December 04, 2012 10:12 AM:

    @Bill..the redistricting by GOP state governments have made TeaParty candidates viable in lots of states, but for House seats only. That's why they now hold the majority there. But there's no such thing as Senate redistricting, which is why TP Crazies such as Moudock were defeated in the generals. I think what we might see is the opposite of what we've been seeing: TP office holders primaried by less crazy GOPers. Maybe I'm dreaming?

  • biggerbox on December 04, 2012 10:21 AM:

    This is just the consequence of what the GOP learned from the election: the first rule of wingnut club is don't talk about wingnut club. It's OK if you want to starve Grandma, but you shouldn't be on record talking about exposing her on a hillside.

  • Mudge on December 04, 2012 10:23 AM:

    As noted by Benin, there seems to be an effort by the Republicans to codify a further right faction so the submitted "plan", and I use that in the Papillon sense, can be sold as moderate. A midpoint. The Nazis make the Fascists look not so bad tactic.

  • MattF on December 04, 2012 10:38 AM:

    This is overthinking-- Huelskamp and Amash voted against the chairman of the committee, the chairman of the committee has the first say in determining who gets on the committee, Huelskamp and Amash depart the committee, QED.

  • Peter C on December 04, 2012 11:11 AM:

    I agree with @MattF. This is Ryan asserting his power - nothing more. The Republicans maintain far better caucus unity than we. They are willing to punish those who stray.

  • Rabbler on December 04, 2012 1:25 PM:

    Who is this 'we' passing out the badges?

  • libarbarian on December 04, 2012 2:45 PM:

    Don't celebrate yet.

    These guys are going to pay a price for this move. The Tea Party is going to win (against the semi-sane Republicans) in the short-term because it better reflects the views of the majority of people that make up the Republican base.

    The problem isn't the Tea Party politicians, it is the Tea Party citizens and they are just getting started.

  • Sean Scallon on December 04, 2012 3:58 PM:

    But even you all would agree the Ryan Budget was phony political document, dedicated to protecting Republican constituencies from budget cuts while project utopia rates of growth. Well then, why condemn the Amashes of the world for being honest with their own views and saying the Emperor has no clothes? Because John Boehner doesn't like it?