Jack Abramoff Exclusive: “Father, a rebellion has begun.”

by
February 8, 2014

JA-headshot-book-flap-200x200With those hopeful words, the actor portraying Robert the Bruce excitedly informed his leper father that things were stirring in the hinterlands. The people finally had enough and war was coming.

Raul Labrador, a Republican Congressman from Idaho, may not be Robert the Bruce, but his pronouncement this week is no less pregnant with meaning for the Republican establishment than the young Scottish Earl’s was in the film Braveheart.

This rebellion has been stirring only since 2006, and its target – John Boehner and his leadership team – is hardly as malevolent as King Edward Longshanks, but a rebellion has begun against the Speaker of the House. The last time Republicans attempted to remove their chosen leader, the Speaker was Newt Gingrich and the year was 1998.

After infuriating the his caucus with a peripatetic leadership style of lurching from issue to issue and position to position, the Republicans were nearing a point of exhaustion with the imperious Gingrich. His histrionic tantrum at having to ride in the back of Air Force One to attend the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin made Gingrich the laughing stock of the nation, and further corroded the Republican brand.

The Republican party rode to power in the Congress based on conservative promises and principles. Their first 100 days in power saw them pass the Contract with America, a series of conservative core issues ranging from welfare reform to tax cuts to a balanced budget. The problem was that conservatives never saw Gingrich as one of their own, and his post-Contract gyrations further increased their anxiety that Gingrich was, like so many of his Republican predecessors, more interested in being beloved by the establishment than in doing the things necessary to right our national course.

The intra-party feud seeped into the public discourse, and soon two camps were trading barbs, the moderate establishmentarians in favor of Gingrich and the conservatives opposed to him. A small band of rebels, including then-Congressmen Joe Scarborough and, incredibly, Lindsey Graham, finally took action. Joined by then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay, the group prepared to file a motion to remove Gingrich. In what could have easily been a scene from Braveheart, their coup was quashed – mainly by the perfidious actions of then House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who feigned support for the rebels before turning them over to Gingrich. So ended the last Republican coup attempt.

Eventually, the Republicans lost control of the Congress, but rose once again from the ashes in 2006, installing the only remaining member of Gingrich’s original House leadership team, John Boehner. Boehner didn’t survive in leadership to see Gingrich’s eventual deracination, as he was removed from his Conference Chairman position by the surging DeLay conservative team.

But, losing that position might have been the best thing to happen to John Boehner. Whether it was good for Republicans is debatable. His demotion to the rank and file enabled him to survive and, with none of the previous generation of leaders extant, he was able to assume the mantle of leadership.

That would be great had he, finally, realized that he leads a conservative Republican House caucus. But, almost from the start, Boehner seems to care more about what the Washington Post and President Obama think of him, than he does about his own members. As he is soon likely to discover, perfidy only lasts so long.

Raul Labrador is a relatively newcomer in the House of Representatives. Elected in 2010 (Boeher arrived 19 years earlier), Labrador has not shied from defending conservative policies and principles. His style is not very politic, and it’s unlikely we’ll find Labrador the guest of honor at Washington establishment parties, but this week he spoke a truth that smolders beneath the surface in the House Republican caucus.

“There is a hunger in the conference for bold, visionary leaders, and this is not just conservatives — you talk to more middle-of-the-road members of the conference, they’re kind of frustrated with the direction of this leadership, and they’re looking for ways to change that,” he told CQ Roll Call.

Ways to change that? I haven’t heard such sweet words since “Father, a rebellion has begun.”

  • Dan Berghamer

    Plain and simple; VOTE EM OUT. Yep, I’m a bagger!

  • Ollie

    You people will never get your country back in order! For one thing toooo stupid! Two, tooooo cowardly, three won’t stick together, four you raised your brats to be the same way! Most white people if called racists will back down from the right think! Now, you figure it out if you people are bright enough!

  • Phyllis N

    “Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.” Speaker Boehner (and Sen. Mitch McConnell) may be more interested in what the Washington Post and Barack Obama think of him than about his own caucus, but this will lead to changes at the helm. The majority of Americans are sick of the “same old, same old” — unfulfilled promises of border security, reigning in of spending and the IRS targeting of certain political groups, etc. It is now 17 months since the Ben Ghazi disaster and still no one has been held accountable — shame on the GOP leadership and the Obama Administration. It is time for principled people to be elected to leadership positions, not those with a case of “Potomac Fever.” Go Eric Gurr for the 8th Congressional District of Ohio and Matt Bevin for Senate in KY!!

  • Phucker Mexico

    I think the rebellion is outstanding and absolutely necessary. As previously mentioned Boehner has gone out of his way to be out of touch with the conservative base. With scandal after scandal splattered in the face of this nation we are now going to move to Amnesty before any of the previous issues have been resolved and this is expressly egregious because there is a body count attached to them.

    We need someone with a set of cods to say what needs to be said and investigate, convict and impeach the culprits responsible. Basically stated, do the right thing!

    Trust is so low in congress because people are fed up with the political correctness. Conservatives will never be praised by the liberals and always branded as racist when they don’t like something. So knowing this doesn’t matter if you are doing the right thing. The Tea Party wants people elected to get this country back on its feet and not someone that from day one that’s looking to get re-elected.

    Adios Boehner!! Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!

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