A TEA Partier’s Lament, Raul Labrador: ‘This Is a Place That Just Sucks Your Soul’

“It feels like Dick Cheney’s in the White House again,” he sighs, “saying, ‘Deficits don’t matter.’”

 

Paul and Labrador

 

It is a shame that we are losing Raul Labrador on the Hill. He was on the right side of things in most respects. But he’s right, Washington does suck one’s soul. (If one still has one anyway.) I am thankful that my excursions into our nation’s capital are brief. Living in the swamp is a weird thing. It’s oddly insular. And people get lost. Between the cocktails and the money, and the posturing, and the back slapping/stabbing it gets to be a lot. It is an alternate universe similar we think to how Hollywood and financial New York are alternative universes.

(From Politico)

Labrador, though, isn’t going home empty-handed. To the fundamental question asked in 2010—could these renegade Tea Partiers actually change how Congress works?—the answer is increasingly, emphatically yes. In establishing the House Freedom Caucus, a group of some three dozen conservatives who sometimes vote as a bloc, Labrador and his co-founders scrambled Washington’s symmetrical partisan warfare by threatening an effective veto over their own party’s leadership…

This drives the staffers and lobbyists who want to play the crony game absolutely nuts. Someone once said that one Ron Paul in Congress wasn’t a problem for leadership. But 10 Ron Paul’s would be.

The Freedom Caucus isn’t chock full of Ron Pauls (If only), but it has done some good, and it has been a thorn in the side of an entrenched and entitled House leadership.

…One speaker of the House retired because of these tactics; another is on the way out and eager to be rid of them. It is a strange achievement: to gain enough power to hamstring the party from the inside, but not enough to realize its policy goals. If the GOP keeps the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, one thing is clear: Labrador’s remaining comrades in the Freedom Caucus will have the numbers, and the leverage, to choose the next speaker…

…For a once-proud revolutionary, Labrador sounds resigned to the fact that Republicans cannot change. And he worries that if Trump makes the mistakes of George W. Bush—whose big-government, big-spending tenure might have birthed the Tea Party as much as Obama’s—conservatives will break free and start “a third party completely divorced from the establishment, like a Freedom Caucus on the national level.” It’s a strange conversation to have at a time when his party dominates the federal government and Democrats are in the wilderness…

It’s not so strange, times change. Now particularly is a time of change. This is a process. The old guys have been in power (Dem and GOP) essentially since the birth of the New Deal. We are moving into a new era now. New coalitions are being formed. New opportunities are emerging.

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