If you’ve read RedState today or kept track of the news over the last few days, you know that House Government Oversight Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz has removed freshman [mc_name name=’Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001187′ ] from his subcommittee chairmanship because of Meadows voted against the GOP on a rules vote. In other words, he voted against a procedural motion that would allow GOP leadership to bring a bill to the floor. These are usually party line votes, since the Democrats sure aren’t interested in helping the GOP further its agenda. Per Politico, Chaffetz described his decision this way:
“Sometimes the coach needs to make a change on the field,” Chaffetz (R-Utah) told POLITICO Saturday. “He’s still a valuable contributor, and I really like Mark Meadows, he’s a good person. But I need to make a change.”
If you have followed Chaffetz at all over his career, you’ll know that he loves to talk football. This is justifiable. Back in the late 1980s he was the kicker for the BYU Cougars while he was in college. That’s not just Podunk State. The Cougars were something of a big deal in the 1980s, winning a national title in 1984. You can go to the Congressman’s own Youtube channel for more information.
Up until this incident, Chaffetz has been far more often than not an ally to conservatives in the House, and I was happy to see him assume the chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee, because conservatives don’t get enough of those. Now, it looks like he is starting to go native.
So, let’s go with his football metaphor here. In this case, Republican leaders, including committee leaders, are the coaches and the rank-and-file members are the players. Let’s also assume for the sake of argument that voting against the GOP on a rules motion is a mistake (it isn’t, but let’s go with it for now). What we have here is akin to a kicker, a totally random position to select, I know, but roll with me, being generally very good at his position, but getting benched because he missed an extra point or field goal that wasn’t even necessary to win a game. But you know, you never really liked his style even if he did get the job done much more often than not.
That alone probably isn’t going to get a coach fired, but it’s not a promising long term career survival strategy. Here’s how Meadows described the situation:
“For the last six months they have doled out small punishments in a variety of forms,” said [mc_name name=’Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001187′ ] of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
“I personally have received those. I have not gone public until now—because they went public first. The leadership team wants to create a culture of punishment and fear without a culture of debate and dialogue. But there is no honor in bowing to a bully. There is only honor in fighting a good fight—win or lose. This is not a fight I will back down from.”
And furthermore, he turned Chaffetz’s football reference back on the leadership:
“The number one thing [to fight back] is changing legislation,” Meadows said. “If leadership won’t allow that, the next course of action is to be clear that the consequences of leadership’s actions are felt here in Washington, D.C. Just like Chaffetz said sometimes you have to make changes to the team, sometimes you have to make changes to the coach. Speaker Boehner is not allowing all of the members of his team a chance to compete.”
It is getting to the point where no one in the GOP floor or committee leadership is deserving of one penny of conservative money or ounce of effort. We already know this is true for Speaker Boehner. He needs to step down from his post or be defeated in a primary as soon as possible.* However, as time goes on, it is increasingly being made clear to us that conservatives who have the courage of their convictions have no place in any leadership positions, no matter how small.
Now, it looks like Jason Chaffetz, who I thought was one of the good guys, is trying to curry favor with them. This is a disgrace. He represents Utah’s 3rd District. According to the latest data, it is an R+25 district, meaning just about any Republican could win there with little to no trouble. Chaffetz is in exactly the kind of district where we should be actively supporting primary challengers, because they would be likewise virtually guaranteed to win the election just like he is. The margin of error is extremely wide.
We should begin looking at our other options in the district.
The featured image depicts Chaffetz during his playing days. It comes courtesy of [mc_name name=’Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001076′ ]’s official Twitter account, @jasoninthehouse.