Sunday, March 8, 2015

King of the Clowns

The Republican Study Committee/Tea Party Caucus/Clown Car has a new name but an old leader, local Congressman/grifter/do-nothing public employee Jim Jordan:
A familiar problem for House Speaker John Boehner has a new name: the House Freedom Caucus.
Little more than a month ago, nine House Republicans formed the latest group dedicated to pulling policy to the right. One funding fight with GOP leaders later, the Freedom Caucus is expanding, according to lawmakers.
As the group has grown, so, too, has frustration among fellow Republicans that the conservative faction’s strategy is undercutting GOP efforts to demonstrate it can govern competently, now that the party controls both chambers of Congress. “I totally reject the premise that there’s anything conservative about what they’re doing,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), noting that GOP fissions only strengthen Democrats’ hand in negotiations over passing critical bills.
For Mr. Boehner, the Ohio Republican now in his third term as speaker, wrangling recalcitrant House Republicans has long been part of the job description. Many in the Freedom Caucus have resisted his plans in previous fights, including in the 2013 standoff over Affordable Care Act funding that led to a partial government shutdown....
Last Friday, a group of 52 Republicans, including eight of the Freedom Caucus’s nine founding members, sank GOP leaders’ plan to pass a three-week extension of Homeland Security funding to buy time to search for a way to block President Barack Obama ’s executive action on immigration. Though opponents of the three-week bill included plenty outside the group, including some usually reliable leadership allies, the new caucus helped foment resistance to the funding measure...
While the group’s membership isn’t public, both Mr. Salmon and the group’s chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), have estimated its roster includes more than 30 lawmakers. Rep. Gary Palmer (R., Ala.) joined the group last Thursday, even though he supported the three-week DHS spending bill the caucus helped torpedo, saying he was drawn to its policy focus and intention to remain a smaller group.
Not all of the Freedom Caucus’s members approve of the group’s recent tactics. Caucus member Rep. Tom McClintock (R., Calif.) said derailing the three-week bill led to “total defeat” on the effort to use Homeland Security funding as leverage to demand a White House reversal on immigration. “They’re off to a very bad start,” said Mr. McClintock, who said he planned to remain in the caucus, but hoped it would switch tactics and “apply conservative principles wherever they can be practically advanced.”...
 The Freedom Caucus’s next target is likely to be the budget, passage of which is one of the GOP leaders’ top priorities. House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.) initiated a meeting with members of the caucus, Mr. Garrett said. Mr. Salmon said the group would be lobbying for a “very, very conservative budget.” Because few, if any, Democrats will vote for a GOP budget, the Freedom Caucus’s position on the budget will help determine whether it can pass, said John Feehery, president of QGA Public Affairs and a former House GOP leadership aide.
“If they decide to take their marbles and go home, there will not be a budget,” he said.
Yeah, the budget.  So far as I know, Jim Jordan, in all his years going through the motions in his do-nothing role on the public payroll in the Ohio House and Senate, and now in the U.S. House of Representatives, has never voted for a budget that ever went into effect.  The only budget I know he's voted for is the arithmetic-averse Ryan budget that had no chance in Hell of passing the Senate, let alone being signed into law.  Every practical budget that would lead to a mildly functional government didn't cut taxes enough or slash programs enough for his liking.  But if you drum up a random group of loons from the backbench of the Republican caucus around any idiot conspiracy theory, you'll find Jim Jordan in the middle of it.  The Benghazi investigation? Yup.  The IRS "scandal"?  Yup.  Have they found anything incriminating?  No.  But they've wasted millions of dollars investigating anyway, and Jordan's made dozens of appearances on Fox News trumpeting the nothing burgers the investigators' latest hearing "uncovered." 

The "freedom caucus" gives due representation to the clueless rural folks who think that only "brown people" get help from the government, and don't notice the myriad forms in which their way of life is subsidized by their state and federal governments.  They believe they would be better off if they had a flat tax and the government only funded national defense and border security, when in fact, they are generally net recipients of tax dollars.  Likewise, after enough years of doing nothing in office, Jim Jordan will retire to receive a cushy Congressional pension.  Unfortunately, that won't be soon enough for me.  Congressman Jordan, and the 4th district voters who continue to elect him, are an embarrassment to Ohio, and detrimental to a functioning nation.

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