T Nation

The Freedom Caucus


#1

They are proving to be a VERY effective voting Block in the House.

First the ousting of Boehner…and now the killing of Trump’s first big legislative initiative.

The Freedom Caucus was formed in 2015 by a group of Congressmen in what member Jim Jordan called a “smaller, more cohesive, more agile and more active” group of conservatives."

Add the word “powerful”.

While the Freedom Caucus does not officially post the names of its members…it appears to be composed of about three-dozen Congressmen (and is growing).

Trump is shrewd. While he appears to only wear the outer clothing of a Conservative; I would imagine that after this last fiasco, he realizes that this is a group he needs to get on his side.

The only problem I see is that this appears to be a “my-way-or-the-Highway” Caucus with little (or no) room for compromise. In other words; they will not be swayed even if Trump tries to push “Conservative-Lite” kinds of initiatives.

Thoughts?


#2

I thought these guys were hard-core Tea Party guys?

How the fuck will Trump and his extremely ambitious economic plan(s) ever work with these guys?

It’ll be interesting to see what happens once Trump gets into policies that he is actually interested in that are completely at odds with traditional Republican talking points/things that the Republican Party has shown little interest in for a long time.

Though… what exactly is the Republican Party supposed to be interested in now that killing Obamacare took a giant blow?


#3

I am very happy with the freedom caucus and Senators like Paul, Cruz, and Lee. It’s nice to see people subscribe to an ideology greater than, “I want to get re-elected.”

Or as Mel Brooks put it


#4

More like a very effective NON-voting block. (Zing!)

‘Shrewd’ is not a word I would use to describe Trump’s presidential tenure to date. Nevertheless, I agree he’s a RINO, which is why I doubt he sees a future in trying to appease the Freedom Caucus. The FC is composed of rigid ideologues who have no real interest in governing; rather, their political brand is based on being oppositional. (They’re the political descendants of former Congressman Ron “Dr. No” Paul, only without the smile and geniality.) Fundamentally, they’re not Republicans–they’re a third political party that will occasionally agree to vote Republican. They are markedly out-of-step with the current political zeitgeist; it would be political suicide for Trump to adopt even a watered-down version of their agenda.

If he wants to get anything of real substance done, Trump’s going to have to re-brand himself as a centrist (think ‘Clintonian triangulation’), and figure out a way to get some Dems on board. But he’s got a long way to go to demonstrate he has the maturity, humility and political chops to pivot in this manner.

Besides, that would take real effort on his part, and he doesn’t seem all that interested in being President, much less in being an effective President.


#5

The establishment Republicans have nothing to do with limited government. They never, ever have (see Lincoln).

There should be a conservative party. Or a liberty party. The Republicans are progressives in sheep’s clothing.

The freedom Caucus shouldn’t compromise. Let the Republicans adapt to them.


#6

Wrong. They are what every Republican campaigns as. The difference is they actually walk the walk instead of running with their tails between their legs at the first sight of difficulty.


#7

Thus, they’re not Republicans =P


#8

This is an interesting point, ED…and you’re right…it would take “Clintonian” Political Skills to pull this off…and a certain temperament that Trump just doesn’t appear to have.

Another point. It appears to me that the DEMS game plan is to sit back; and irritate and frustrate the hell out of Trump until he self-destructs.

It is unlikely that they will get many (if any) legislative wins…but as I said in another thread, Pelosi, Shumer, and the Gang are not the type of people that Trump can politically out-smart or out-maneuver.

During the election; every time I listened to Pelosi I thought she was on her last leg. I actually think that Trump has given the 'ole gal a second wind…and as the old Southern saying goes…“she is all up in his shit every time he takes a piss…”


#9

Granted, this collision course was inevitable. The members of the Freedom Caucus were never going to roll over and become strongman-worshipping populists. And now, having proven they wouldn’t, they hold the balance of power in Congress.

One theory is that Trump will abandon them and seek out policy middle grounds and court Democrats, making a centrist bloc that marginalizes the Freedom Caucus. Maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

By the way, good for the Freedom Caucus for holding their ground. Whether you love Obama Care or hate it, Congress showing some spine against a Presidency is a good development for all of us. Kudos.


#10

TB

I would think for two big reasons:

  1. That would take Political Skill and patience; and

  2. Would not siding with “the enemy” (the DEMS) alienate his base? (Even though I think that Trump has a fair number of Republicans who oppose him and his agenda as well).

He seems pretty Loyal to the ones that brought him to the Dance.

Due to the fact that Trump survived a 17 person Primary, knocking opponents off like cans on a wall; and stopped one of the most potent political machines of a Generation to become President…you simply can’t count Trump completely out…(at least I can’t!)


#11

Which he’s demonstrated having neither. :slight_smile: [quote=“Mufasa, post:10, topic:227707”]
2) Would not siding with “the enemy” (the DEMS) alienate his base? (Even though I think that Trump has a fair number of Republicans who oppose him and his agenda as well).
[/quote]

I think this is the key. The Republicans finally pull off the trifecta to run the table (House, Senate, and White House) and Trump chooses to abandon that in favor of working with Democrats to secure votes he shouldn’t need?

I think that would spell doom with his base with very little upside - even if they work with him selectively on center-leftist initiatives he’s fond of, Democrats ultimately think he’s a moron, a bigot, and a wannabe tyrant. They’ll never coalesce into the support he needs if he loses his GOP base.[quote=“Mufasa, post:10, topic:227707”]
Due to the fact that Trump survived a 17 person Primary, knocking opponents off like cans on a wall; and stopped one of the most potent political machines of a Generation to become President…you simply can’t count Trump completely out…(at least I can’t!)
[/quote]

I don’t count him out per se, but I just don’t see the people he vanquished as all that impressive in the first place. I was completely surprised he won the nomination, but the field of competition was not exactly sterling.

Re: beating the Clinton machine: again, I don’t think in 2016 there was much of a machine. Influence in the party? Yes, too much, hence the DNC clearing a path for her. But an incredibly flawed candidate (she ain’t him) and a tired and galactically hypocritical message wasn’t very impressive to start with. I think any generic Republican would have probably won.


#12

Being a Republican is defined by doing what Republicans do. When the vast majority of Republican lawmakers vote one way, FC members consistently vote another. Ergo, they’re not Republicans.

That’s the thing–as the election made abundantly clear, his base is not ideological. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about Paul Ryan’s goal to randify (© 2017 EyeDentist, all rights reserved) the government, or Steve Bannon’s desire to deconstruct the administrative state. If the Dear Leader used his rally-and-Twitter approach to say ‘Republican extremists are keeping me from doing the things you elected me to do, so I’m going to work with the rest of the Republicans and a few like-minded Dems to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’ his crowd would be all for it.


#13

Really Webster? That’s the definition?


#14

The operational definition, yes. Would be sort of odd to define it any other way, don’t you think?

And I am much, much taller than Webster.


#15

Looks like he’s waging war against them too:

And it doesn’t look like they appreciated Bannon’s tactics:

Trump also plugged Judge Jeanine’s show before it aired Saturday, in which she called for Ryan to step down.


#16

I do think it’s funny that the FC told the arrogant authoritarian Bannon to pound sand when he ordered them to vote for the bill.


#17

#18

If anyone is going to care about the national debt, it might look like this. It’s certainly not going to come from some moderate block in the middle, although that would be amazing to have moderate Dems and Reps start to care about our fiscal realities. I read this morning that the Freedom caucus is growing, with 30-40 members now. I see it as a shift toward some small l sensibilities.

I’m not a chess player. My husband can cream me every time, but I guess this comes down to the looking at gradual changes, with their own new problems, and if that would get us anywhere. Ryan is attempting that strategy. I’m someone who seven years ago would have started with catastrophic coverage for all and looking at expanding to cover some of the lower-income working people who fall through the cracks.

I haven’t been very good at predicting Trump, but he didn’t want to go after healthcare change yet. The current system continues to show fractures and fail. We’ll have to do something. Dems can continue to own that I guess. High premiums. Limited markets. People getting $600+ bill from their government because the ACA is such an expensive plan that includes everything under the kitchen sink (mental health coverage that’s a dream for any psychologist, etc…). Maybe this kind of thing will build support for change.


#19

That can’t be true some on T Nation said he is an idiot. Hmm I just don’t know who to believe now.

:smile:


#20

Sure you can if you don’t like him you can count him out based on that…it’s called emotion.