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Sep 02 2013

Heritage Banned From House GOP Planning?

If this story is true, it’s a pretty big deal. The National Journal reports that the Republican Study Committee, made up of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives, has banned the Heritage Foundation from having a role in their planning meetings.

But after a summertime spat over agriculture policy, GOP lawmakers decided to push back.
According to several sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the Republican Study Committee—a group of 172 conservative House members—has barred Heritage Foundation employees from attending its weekly meeting in the Capitol. The conservative think tank has been a presence at RSC meetings for decades and enjoys a close working relationship with the committee and its members. But that relationship is now stretched thin, sources say, due to a series of policy disputes that culminated with a blowup over last month’s vote on the the farm bill…

Still, the move to effectively kick Heritage out of the weekly RSC meeting represents “a seismic shift” in the relationship between the two institutions, according to one high-ranking Capitol Hill aide.

The acrimony can be traced to a pair of summer showdowns over agriculture policy.

I have to wonder if the hiring of Jim DeMint isn’t going to backfire on the Heritage Foundation in a big way.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    John Pieret

    I have to wonder if the hiring of Jim DeMint isn’t going to backfire on the Heritage Foundation in a big way.

    It hasn’t already? What does a “think tank” have besides its reputation for … well … thinking? Sure, that thinking is often in service of an ideology but the hiring of DeMint gave up all pretense of actual thought.

  2. 2
    democommie

    Well, I guess that they’ll just have to go back to doin’ bidneth the ol’ fashioned way, in smoke filled rooms*.

    * Or by the light of flaming crosses.

  3. 3
    Artor

    Huh. Is this a sign that the Republican party is taking serious steps toward reforming itself, instead of continuing to be the “Party of Stoopid,” while giving lip service to reforms? I won’t be holding my breath.

  4. 4
    Michael Heath

    The Heritage Foundation has been as nutty as Jim DeMint for decades now. So I don’t see why his taking the helm of the Heritage Foundation suggests a change in the dynamics between this Christian propaganda outfit and Republican members of Congress simply because DeMint is a wingnut. They’re all wingnuts, well beyond the pale. There are effectively no more sane Republican liberals or moderates at the federal level in Congress, at least not in how they carry out their duties and campaign.

    So I’d look for other reasons, like perhaps an increase in the demand for purity from Heritage similar to the blowback we saw against President George W. Bush during his presidency when he nominated Harriet Miers to the SCOTUS or when he promoted a relatively moderate view on immigration policy that wasn’t sufficiently mean-spirited and bigoted for mainstream conservative Christians.

  5. 5
    raven

    Huh. Is this a sign that the Republican party is taking serious steps toward reforming itself,…

    Doesn’t look like it.

    AFAICT, the GOP is getting more extreme by the day. The Oregon GOP just elected Art Robinson, an all around crackpot, as their head. Robinson is a creationist who wants to abolish the public schools and wants to seed the earth with radioactive waste for public health reasons.

    This looks more like a personality conflict than anything else.

  6. 6
    D. C. Sessions

    There are 233 Republicans in the House, and 172 of them are in the RSC — which is supposedly the right wing of the right wing. In other words, 74% of the Republicans in the House are in the RSC. Among other things that suggests that either the RSC isn’t not terribly exclusive or else the Rush to the right is winding up.

    Either way, I’d read this as the crack of the Whip: the majority of the House extremists are starting to worry about extremism interfering with electability [1], causing the momentum to concentrate in smaller and smaller groups accelerating. DeMint taking over wasn’t the cause, it was the symptom — Heritage has been heading away from its pose as a credible ideological shop and into foaming-at-the-mouth partisan hackery for at least a decade.

    [1] Sometimes read as “pissing off the money.” Which, of course, depends on just which “money” is talking to them.

  7. 7
    caseloweraz

    Robinson is a crackpot, all right (pun intended), but he’s a loudmouth and can do the Gish gallop like nobody’s business. That may be what the Oregon GOP wants him for. Michael Steele comes to mind: “That’s how we roll, baby.”

  8. 8
    Modusoperandi

    Simple. Heritage is too moderate. I mean, Demint only wanted to shut down the government over the ACA. If he was a True Conservative he’d want to burn it down, fueling the fires with pyres of the Undeserving Poor, as the Founding Fathers intended. Plus, he completely forgot Agenda 21. Yes, that’s right; the Lizard People got to him.

    Alternately, they didn’t want Heritage interrupting and obstructing their planning on how best to interrupt and obstruct government.

  9. 9
    unbound

    Modusoperandi beat me to my comment. From what I’ve been observing, the Heritage Foundation is just not extreme enough for the current crop of Rethuglicans. The behavior we are seeing in congress would simply be unthinkable 30 years ago (maybe even 10 or 20 years ago). The behavior of congress over the ACA (something the Republicans should be loving by ideology) means that even the Heritage Foundation is just not childish enough anymore.

    If a 5th grader can’t poke intellectual holes into the idea, it just isn’t worthy of the Republican party anymore.

  10. 10
    Raging Bee

    The more Republican policies fail, and the more obvious their failure becomes, the more likely the party’s constituent interest-groups are to break ranks and fall to squabbling among themselves, as each group tries ever more desperately to find someone else to blame for their failures. Hopefully this latest Deep Rift will do a good amount of damage to the far right as a whole before they find another scapegoat to unite against.

  11. 11
    eric

    But that relationship is now stretched thin, sources say, due to a series of policy disputes that culminated with a blowup over last month’s vote on the the farm bill…

    Okay, I admit my curiousity is peaked. Which group didn’t want to give massive handouts to the farm industry? Of all the bills Congress considers, this does not seem like one that would result in any inter-party conflict.

  12. 12
    Modusoperandi

    eric, Food Stamps are in the Farm Bill.

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