The Freedom Caucus’ Unprecedented Insurgency

(To access a list of Freedom Caucus members, that includes Indiana’s Marlin Stutzman, go here. – Admin.)

At least since the Civil War, there hasn’t been a faction fighting both parties at the same time.

Politico.com
By Alan Greenblatt
10/18/15

Congress has never seen anything quite like the House Freedom Caucus. There’s always someone unhappy on Capitol Hill and it’s not unusual for malcontents to band together. A rebellion made up of members who refuse to work with either party, however, is something that hasn’t happened in living memory.

“This is an unusual and indeed unprecedented development in the history of the party,” says Geoffrey Kabaservice, a research consultant to the Main Street Partnership, a centrist GOP group.

Parties—particularly those with large majorities—almost inevitably split into factions. And congressional history is replete with examples of groups that balked at party leadership. But the insurgents we remember—the ones who weren’t quickly and completely marginalized—managed by and large to find common cause with members of the other party. Southern Democrats, for instance, forged a “conservative coalition” with Republicans that dominated Congress for much of the 20th century.

There hasn’t been a bloc like the Freedom Caucus for at least a century, one that refuses to work with its own party leadership while being steadfastly unwilling to reach across the aisle…
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Senate hopefuls Stutzman, Young and Holcomb speak in Rochester

(A Presidential Debate schedule and transcripts are here. – Admin.) GOP’s hopefuls converge here         RochSent.com By Wesley Dehne, Staff Writer 10/16/15 It was a banner year for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner, as larger than normal numbers of local, state and federal Republican party politicians and officials gathered at the Fulton County Museum on Wednesday. Keynote speakers included Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, R-2nd Dist., Congressman Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd Dist., Congressman Todd Young, R-9th Dist. and former Indiana State Republican Chairman Eric Holcomb. Also, other state-level officeholders or their representatives … Continue reading

Top aides leaving Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s Senate campaign

(Additional content has been posted regarding Ben Carson’s comments about a Muslim as President. – Admin.) Campaign manager Brendon DelToro is leaving in a disagreement over the direction of the campaign. IndyStar.com By Maureen Groppe, Star Washington Bureau 10/12/15 WASHINGTON — The top aide running Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s Senate campaign is leaving in a disagreement over the direction of the campaign, and two other top aides also are departing. “It comes down to Marlin and I just had different visions for how the direction of the campaign was going,” said … Continue reading

House Republican quits Freedom Caucus

(Indiana’s Rep. Marlin Stutzman – R (3rd) is a member of the Freedom Caucus. Stutzman is also a candidate for U.S. Senator.) Politico.com By Lauren French 9/16/15 California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock announced Wednesday he was resigning from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, saying the group’s hardball tactics had undermined conservative goals rather than advancing them. The departure comes as the group is locked in a heated battle with Republican leaders about the direction of the party and is threatening to attempt to strip Rep. John Boehner of his speakership. … Continue reading

Chamber gearing up to take out GOP incumbents

The move would be a major tactical shift for the group, which isn’t naming names yet. (Highlighting and House Freedom Caucus link added by Admin. New content for Marlin Stutzman is here.) Politico.com By Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman 7/24/15 The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to challenge some House Republicans in primary elections, frustrated after much of its agenda has been stymied by a small pocket of conservative GOP lawmakers. The influential and well-heeled business group is already eyeing several races, but the plans are still in … Continue reading

Conservative Republican Battles Ghost of 2012 in Indiana Senate Race

Indiana GOP primaries have favored conservatives in recent years, and Rep. Marlin Stutzman is very conservative. But he has to assuage Republican fears about what happened in the last Senate race.

NationalJournal.com
By Andrea Drusch
6/9/15

Indiana Republicans have more reasons than most to fear messy intraparty primaries. They had a front-row seat to one with infamous consequences just three years ago.

In 2012, tea-party groups lined up behind state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in a primary against the state’s longtime, more moderate incumbent, Sen. Richard Lugar. The rest of the story is painfully familiar to Republicans around the country: Mourdock defeated Lugar in a Republican primary landslide, only to fumble away the general election after controversial comments about rape. The seat that Lugar held for more than three decades (and had been expected to hold easily again that year) instead went to Joe Donnelly, then a Democratic congressman.

So to some party leaders, watching some of the same groups that backed Mourdock in 2012 line up behind Rep. Marlin Stutzman, a conservative House member who’s been known to ruffle a few feathers in Washington, feels like a dangerous turn of events. But, with recent Indiana history in mind, some of Stutzman’s early moves in the race to replace retiring Sen. Dan Coats soften the “tea-party establishment” dividing line that has caused so many state Republicans worry in recent years…
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Indiana’s Stutzman announces bid for Senate

Stutzman announces bid for Senate The Journal Gazette (Ft. Wayne, IN) By Brian Francisco, Washington editor 5/9/15 ROANOKE – U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman announced Saturday he will run for a Senate seat next year, and he left no doubt about where he fits on the political spectrum. “I will never apologize for being God-fearing, gun-packing, commonsense conservative,” he told hundreds of supporters at his campaign kick-off rally. Stutzman, R-3rd, criticized the Obama administration for half of the $18 trillion national debt, the federal health care law and government regulations he … Continue reading

(Indiana) Sen. Dan Coats not running for reelection

The Washington Post By Sean Sullivan 3/24/15 Updated at 12:35 p.m. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said Tuesday he will not run for reelection in 2016, a move that could potentially trigger a competitive open-seat race that could become a factor in the battle for the Senate majority. Many political observers expected Coats to seriously consider retiring, so his decision did not come as a complete surprise. In a statement, Coats said he made a difficult but necessary choice. “Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the … Continue reading

Rep. Stutzman sends our message to feeble leadership

The Pharos-Tribune
Brian Howey
The Howey Report
1/11/15

INDIANAPOLIS — On the day after he was one of 25 Republicans to vote against the reelection of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, the Politico reported that “particular ire was directed at U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman,” who was a leading instigator of the attempted coup.

Many see Stutzman as a Republican on the Tea Party fringe, steadily working his way toward the back bench. Ultimately, this may be the case.

But what I see in Stutzman is someone who had the guts to make a declarative statement that the status quo in Congress is utterly unacceptable. It is something the American people have been telling pollsters for years now. If you take a recent best case scenario, NBC/Wall Street Journal put Congressional approval/disapproval at 16/78 percent last month. Fox News had it at 14/80 percent. The National Journal had it at 9/80 percent last autumn.

The 113th Congress passed only 234 laws, the lowest in history. Another count by Politico had 296 laws passing, with 212 of them described as “substantive” while 84 were categorized as ceremonial. This Congress shut down for 16 days, with Stutzman a leading proponent. The House was only in session 147 days, and the Senate 141 days, or about 40 percent of the time. Some 94.6 percent of incumbents were reelected on Nov. 4. Since 1964, it’s never dipped below 82 percent in the House, and only during the Reagan landslide of 1980 has it gone below 60 percent in the Senate.

Even though the states have been begging Congress to fulfill its duty and bring about comprehensive immigration reform, this Congress kicked that big, stinkin’ can down the road.

Stutzman explained his vote against Boehner, saying, “In my years of service as a state and federal legislator, I’ve been honored to consistently support the leadership of my party because of their commitment to conservative principles. The parliamentary procedures of the U.S. House of Representatives are a proven framework for respectful thought and dialogue as the best means to guide proposed laws through a meticulous legislative process.”

“One month after winning the 2014 midterm elections, the current House leadership forced members to vote on the ‘CROmnibus’ legislation less than three days after it was introduced, a violation of the spirit of the House of Representatives ‘three-day rule’ before voting on bills,” Stutzman explained. “Legislation that contains almost 1,700 pages of legal language deserves the time and attention required to comprehend its content before bringing it to the floor for a vote. Recorded votes that break our own rules are no better than ‘passing a bill so we can find out what’s in it.’ It is a dangerous practice that consistently results in laws that are detrimental for the American people. This type of disregard for regular order and other similar actions will not do anything to build the trust of the American people. We can and must do better.”

Sometimes it’s worth noting that a member on the outlier can actually be absolved by history. Then U.S. Rep. Mike Pence was a lonely Republican vote against No Child Left Behind, a popular bill that was based on a ridiculous premise, as history as proven. Then U.S. Rep. John Hostettler was the lone Hoosier Republican to vote against the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, has none of the blood on his hands in what has proven to be nothing less than an American disaster.

Stutzman is not the only Hoosier member to publicly complain about this process. An exasperated U.S. Sen. Dan Coats explained last month, “One of Congress’ primary duties is to fund the federal government, but under the management of Harry Reid, the Senate has consistently ignored important spending decisions until literally the last minute. This forces senators to vote on large bills that fund the entire government, but inevitably include many items I do not support. The bill that the House sent to the Senate bill does, however, make positive changes for Hoosier families. Reforms include cutting the EPA budget by $60 million and the IRS budget by $345 million, prohibiting an EPA regulation opposed by Indiana farmers and blocking any new funding to implement Obamacare. Republicans will govern not only more conservatively, but also more responsibly, when we take control of the Senate in January.”

To Coats, the Reid era Senate was “dysfunctional.”

The question Hoosiers should keep in mind is with such a dismal performance record, why is Stutzman the only member to come to the conclusion that the problem lies at the top, with long-entrenched leadership, as opposed to the back bench? Since 1899, only one House Majority Leader (Eric Cantor) was defeated in a primary election and that came last spring. It isn’t a stretch to say that Cantor might be our little yellow canary.

Stutzman added, “The American system of government is based on the idea that ultimate power lies in the people, not the federal government. Our elected officers at all levels of government must be accountable to the rules and structures that have been established as a proven means of governing with integrity. Congress should not be the exception, but the example of such rule of law.”

Virtually all Hoosier House members sit in safe districts. They all have huge campaign war chests stored to discourage challengers. All breezed to reelection last November with comfortable to overwhelming pluralities.

But 2016 will be a vastly different beast than 2014. Six of the seven Republicans invested in leadership this week that has done virtually nothing to deserve the trust of the people. The people are consistently saying that they want lawmakers to work across the aisle, compromise, and deal with the nation’s many challenges. Hoosier members who voted for leadership would be wise to press them internally to get to work, and deal with the needs of the people. Within two years, complacency could be replaced with pikes and pitchforks.

Brian Howey, a Peru native, is the publisher of The Howey Political Report. He can be reached at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him on Twitter @hwypol.