Friday, October 23, 2015

Does Freedom Caucus Represent Constitutional Values?

     There has been a great deal of consternation and gnashing of teeth among conservatives over the current quest for new leadership in the House of Representatives. Congressional Republicans are split between the so-called Freedom Caucus that wants to elect a Speaker that will advance and advocate for their "principles," and the more moderate Republicans, often called the "establishment" or "Rinos" by the former, who want to elect a Speaker who will work with Democrats in the House to advance legislation that is generally good for the country.
     The Freedom Caucus in the House is populated with around 40 members, but even in its minority status it wields a big stick. The caucus operates under an 80% rule, which means 80% of its members must agree on an issue otherwise the entire caucus must oppose said issue. Even the congress of the United States does not in any situation have such an inflexible rule, nor does the Supreme Court in its decision making require such a majority. This 80% rule means that a mere 8 members of the Freedom Caucus can influence a decision being made by the entire majority of the House. Not exactly what the Founders had in mind.
     Speaking of the Founders, and their brilliance enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which is rightly and often used by conservatives to illuminate where political opponents have strayed, that same fidelity to constitutional principles must also be applied to our political machinations as well. The Speaker for which the Freedom Caucus is advocating is not exactly in the spirit, if not the actual letter, of the law of the constitution. The Speaker of the House is not an ideological position, but a managerial one, constitutionally speaking.
     The framers of the constitution state very clearly that House members elect by a majority vote a Speaker to lead them in the procedural tasks in the legislative process. The Speaker is not a representative of a minority part of any one political Party, e.g. the Freedom Caucus, nor is the Speaker even a representative of any one political Party in general. Constitutionally, the Speaker is to represent the entire House and manage that body in the legislative process to keep order and integrity in the procedural habits of that body.
     Fidelity to constitutional values is what should drive every conservative, whether those values are an impediment or a benefit to our political ideology. Those who oppose every person, issue, or solution that involves the slightest modicum of what they perceive as compromise, are not representing the best qualities the Founders outlined in this great nation's founding documents. And any body that claims to hold the ideals of the republic near and dear, and yet allows for minority rule instead of majority rule, is not in any sense following the example or the ideals of Jefferson, Madison, et al.

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