Freedom Works has long claimed to be a grassroots organization, when in reality it is a Koch brothers funded propaganda outlet. Freedom Works and the Tea Party go together like Republicans and a corporate agenda. Unhappy with their losses and inability to impact policy enough (Freedom Works won’t be happy until corporations are running the government completely), Freedom Works is deploying Tea Party missiles of mass destruction against the Republican Party.
Freedom Works is putting pressure on House Republicans to vote no against their own party’s rules, causing members to blindside their party whips. According to The Hill, sixteen Republicans broke with their party on a procedural vote over a rule designed to prevent a government shutdown. (Sadly, the results of Republican inner-party warfare don’t bode well for the nation.)
Reportedly, these Republican defectors told the whips they would be voting with the party, as is usual especially on procedural votes. And then, after pressure from Freedom Works, they defected. Their no votes were a shock to GOP House party leaders.
From The Hill:
One source close to the GOP’s operation, quoting the popular Netflix series “Game of Cards,” said the members broke the “deadliest sin” of “don’t surprise me.”
“There (was) a revolution afoot that people who whipped for (the Rule) this morning, changed their vote to ‘no,'” the source said.
Several conservatives switched their positions on the rule under pressure from interest groups that on Wednesday morning announced they intended to score votes on the rule.
Freedom Works, for example, was livid that GOP leaders refused to allow a floor vote on an amendment to defund the implementation of President Obama’s healthcare law.
Some of the Republican defectors voted against the rule but for the funding — they are calling this a conscience vote (corporations have those now?), including Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), John Fleming (R-LA), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Mo Brooks (R-ALA.), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Ted Yoho (R-FL).
The Hill reports that “conservative” Republicans intend to keep doing this if it pleases them (aka, when pressured by the Koch brothers et al), and they mentioned that Eric Erickson of Red State is calling this revolution the “Conservative Fight Club”. I guess that cute name is supposed to indicate that they mean business.
So what’s happening here is that in spite of themselves, Freedom Works is actually doing something for the people, by pressuring conservative Republicans to defect from their party and commit the “deadliest sin” of saving the betrayal for the actual vote, rather than giving the whips a heads up. This is a deliberate public humiliation of Republican House leadership, meant to signal that they don’t have the power they think they have.
Remember this when Republicans say President Obama won’t negotiate with them. With whom should the President be negotiating? Who has the power in the House? Speaker John Boehner can’t rely upon his own party members to vote the way they say they will and he can’t get the votes on important bargains he’s made in the past. Yet, the corporatist “conservative” Tea Party doesn’t have enough power to run the House — just enough to destroy the Republicans who are trying to run the House.
In fact, as the Hill pointed out, had the 17 Democrats who missed the vote that day been there to vote against it, a Republican procedural rule vote would have been defeated in the Republican led House. We call this a revolt, and since it has the big money backing of Freedom Works, that means it also has more power than individual conscience votes.
Freedom Works seems bound and determined to destroy the only power the Republicans have right now — the House of Representatives. If they keep this up and Democrats stay unified, there’s an opening to neuter some Republican power in the House.