It’s been almost three weeks since Congressman Mark Meadows made his gutsy motion to vacate the office of Speaker of the House. While the motion fizzled, as expected, I’d like to memorialize Congressman Meadows for his act of uncommon courage, and share a conversation he had on the subject with radio talk show host Mark Levin.
First I’d like to go back to June, when Mark Meadows was among a handful of House conservatives who voted against giving Obama fast track trade authority. I’m confident most of the Republican electorate would be opposed to giving Obama fast track anything, and Meadows stated that he was just trying to vote according to promises he had made to his constituents when he was elected. But the Republican leadership in the House would have none of it, and stripped Meadows of a subcommittee chairmanship. Because of the outcry that followed, his chairmanship was restored.
Then late on Tuesday, July 28, Meadows filed his motion to “Vacate the Chair,”–to remove Boehner as speaker. Click here to read the motion.
It lists seven key grievances against Speaker John Boehner. It’s an enumeration of Boehner’s heavy-handed and anti-democratic tactics. And I would add to the list what Meadows doesn’t–that the agenda Boehner pushes with his tactics is a big-government agenda. The votes he squeezes from his caucus are for votes that go along with most of the Democrats or to support Obama. If he were heavy handed in opposing Obama, he would at least be being true to the promises Republicans campaigned on. So in my mind, his principal sin is undermining the cause for which Republicans were elected to Congress–thwarting Obama’s destructive agenda.
On that Tuesday evening, Congressman Meadows called in to the Mark Levin radio show and discussed this move with Mark. Here are excerpts of what he said. What I found fascinating about his conversation was the fear of retaliation that he had. It feels more like a police state than the United States of America. Here are selected excerpts from that conversation:
Mark Levin: Congressman Mark Meadows, Republican North Carolina, this afternoon introduced a resolution. He’s trying to gather the votes to declare the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives vacant, in other words to remove John Boehner as Speaker of the House. He has provided a list of reasons for it, much like the Declaration of Independence where the colonists, the revolutionaries, provided a list on why they needed to throw off the crown in England after endless efforts trying to work with the Crown in England. Congressman Meadows, how are you sir?
Congressman Meadows: Well, it’s good to be with you, Mark. I can tell you it’s been a challenging day. But obviously a day where I felt like I had to take action on behalf of the American people.
Mark: So you’ve made this move, you’ve probably thought about it a long time. You’ve put together a very thoughtful resolution. I don’t disagree with any aspect of it. I’m very supportive of this. And you’re prepared to be trashed by the usual forces that like John Boehner, you know, big government Republicans. They’re going to smirk at you, and you’re going to be persona non grata, and you’re prepared for this. Right, Congressman?
Congressman Meadows: Well, I am prepared for it. It’s not something that I relish.
As the news broke, it was during the last vote series that we had, I’ve already had a few discussions with some of my colleagues and some not supportive and obviously very direct.
But really, it gets down to Mark, if you’re not willing to stand up for the people that send you to Washington, DC, why go? I mean, if my voting card is only allowed to vote the way the leadership tells me I can vote, and if I don’t vote that way I get either punished or I fail to get bills heard, then it’s just an illusion of a democracy and a representative form of government. If we’re allowing three or four people to make all the decisions it’s wrong.
My son said it best. He said Dad, here’s the thing. If that’s what you believe and that’s what the people that voted for you believe, then you have an obligation. As much as I wouldn’t want to do this–personally, I don’t relish being punished. But yes, the punishment is surely going to come. But it’s nothing compared to the sacrifices that our founding fathers had to make.
We have a rule book that has 1308 pages of rules. And yet since I’ve been in Congress, I don’t know of one time that we’ve passed a bill that followed those rules.
For me, I couldn’t be silent any longer. It’s something that had to be done regardless of the consequences. And there will be consequences to pay. This particular decision may send me home. They may make sure that I don’t get re-elected. But ultimately it’s one that had to be made.
The pressure is great, as you know. When you get to Washington, DC, it’s all about conforming to what happens in DC, not what happens back home in our respective states.
As we know by now, the motion fizzled. We expected that. While I am confident that John Boehner could not win election as Speaker if there were a secret ballot, there are no secret ballots in the House. Because he wields such power, dissidents are faced with a choice of voting their consciences and being stripped of any influence, or going along so that they can be an effective voice on behalf of their constituents. I know, for example, from a private conversation, that my own representative in Congress is opposed to Boehner. But he is very careful not to be outspoken and not to go on record as opposing Boehner, so that he can get bills heard and be effective. It’s a corrupt system, and conservatives are frustrated that, after sending a majority to Congress, the Republican leadership is working against the will of the people to give the lobbyists and business interests what they want.
The effect I will discuss in my next post: The Republican Party is sick, and Trump is the symptom.
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