Conservative Republicans are often looked upon as irresponsible and right wing nuts until election time rolls around. We are then courted for our votes. In the aftermath we are expected to remain quite and obedient in the background, even though the principles we espouse and hold sacred within us (smaller government, less spending, adherence to social and moral values, liberty, and freedom of choice) are being disregarded and dismantled as our Constitution is likewise being torn and tattered.
Recently Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio brought home how he views conservatives and conservative groups. Boehner roundly conservative criticized groups who had mobilized in opposition to the emerging bipartisan budget bill once news reports surfaced that it would undo sequestration spending levels in the near term. It was Boehner, however, who had broken his pledge made in 2010 by rushing the bill to the floor instead of making a bill available online 72 hours before a vote is held.
Groups roundly criticized by Speaker Boehner for mobilizing against the bi-partisan bill were Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity. He went on to call these groups "ridiculous." Both organizations should be heralded rather than vilified for their action.
The groundwork for Heritage Action was laid by Edwin J Feulner, president of the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, for 35 years until former senator Jim DeMint was named successor in late 2012, taking over as president on April 3, 2013. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Feulner
As the sister organization to The Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action's troops (http://heritageaction.com) engage in politics in the narrow sense by holding legislators accountable for their votes, while the Heritage Foundation remains dedicated to politics in the larger sense, laying out the big idea and broad themes that must underlie our nation's policies.
For too long, Washington has advanced a liberal agenda and served the needs of special interests. The nation desperately needs conservative voices, but in Washington even many self-described conservatives advance the ideas of the left. A new conservative direction is needed. Heritage Action is working toward that goal.
What Boehner finds objectionable about the work of Heritage Action, as do many establishment Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate, which extends also to their fellow conservative Republican House and Senate members, relates not only to the experienced Heritage Action legislative team that works the halls of Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers and their staffs how to vote to promote conservative principles, but also the activist army of grassroots organizers -- now more than 300,000 strong -- who get the conservative message to their local representatives and then hold them accountable for how they vote. There is even a Conservative Scorecard that rates each lawmaker.
Heritage Action's grassroots army is open to all who wish to join in the fight to take back this nation from those who advocate and are continuing to advance a Socialist agenda. The task at hand involves engaging legislators in the politics issues of the day, but also trying to convince legislators that there are more compassionate ways of helping the poor; more enlightened ways of protecting the environment; more effective ways of educating our children; healing our sick; and tending to our elderly than to rely on the invisible foot of a distant bureaucracy. Thorner has been a member of the Heritage Action grassroots army for two years.
Chip Borman is the Upper Midwest Regional Coordinator of Heritage Action which includes the state of Illinois. If interested in becoming a member of Heritage Action's grassroots army, contact Mr. Borman at Chip.Borman@heritageaction.com.
Worthy of sharing is the following essay by Chip Borman published on December 19: Activist Versus Establishment: Constant Accountability. It explains in no uncertain terms the real "inside/outside" fight that is now underway as conservatives fight those on the "inside." http://heritageaction.com/2013/12/activist-versus-establishment-constant-accountability/
This is a fight for the heart and soul of the “right”. We saw something like this in the 1960’s with the Rockefeller vs Goldwater wings that broke down by Liberal Republican versus Conservative Republican. Pro-Choice, Anti-war, High Taxes, Big Government. This is why Reagan said that we needed a “Choice, not an Echo.”
This fight is somewhat different…. I believe that this split in the “movement” is not totally left versus right. This is also between “Inside” and “outside”. Those Republicans on the “inside” want to get re-elected at all costs and don’t mind spending China’s borrowed money, raising taxes and increasing government’s reach to do it. The worst part is them telling activists to get out of the way until we are needed at the next election time. Insiders want to be held accountable only at elections, when the choice is an either/or choice of Republican or Worse. Inside Republicans know that they will win that choice. Outside conservatives want to have a voice in their government – and not just at election time.
While the Constitution gives us (at several places) the right to vote, the First Amendment re-affirms our God-given right to “petition for redress of grievances”. This doesn’t merely mean that we can circulate a petition; it means that we have an innate right to speak our opinions and directly tell our Representatives what we believe. The right to Express an Opinion. I can recall a time after the Tea Party victories in 2010 and the mood seemed to darken for the newly minted GOP leadership in the House. Boehner’s people asked the Tea Party why they had “turned” on them. The Tea Party response was “What, you thought we’d just go away after November?”
What we see here is Inside Republicans frustrated with the success of those that are demanding a smaller, limited government. The success of the grass roots in stopping the Farm (food stamp) Bill and our success in bringing the truth of ObamaCare to light has made the insiders nervous. I believe that if we didn’t express our opinions about the unfair, unworkable and un-American Health Insurance Scheme, most inside Republicans would have been happy to foist that on the American People so long as it didn’t interfere with their next election. At election time, they counted on an easy re-election because they had taken 39 meaningless votes against an unpopular policy while the Democrat was 100% for it. No matter the actual damage of the policy – they wanted the political win.
The accuse us of helping the Democrats, as if that’s our only choice: take what they give us or throw them out. We can speak up, we can score the conservative position, we can tell them (politely) that this is not leading down a path of limited government, we can publish our opinions for all to see, we can be angry, we can be supportive, we can organize and we can write. In short we can hold them accountable, and not just at election time. Insiders hate that. Sure, we always have the choice at election time to vote Dem or to stay home, but this means that they are essentially taking two rights away – the right to speak up and be heard; and the right to vote for a clear choice, not an echo.