In a recent Capitol Hill confab, conservative reps met to talk about the need for the House leadership to take bolder steps on a myriad of issues, most notably, Fast and Furious.
The Politico reported:
The cautious approach that top Republicans have taken on whether to vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress has sparked a new round of hand-wringing over the party’s direction on Capitol Hill.
Specifically, conservatives want bolder, more aggressive leadership from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the rest of GOP high command — on Holder and the broader Republican agenda heading into November.
The feeling was best illustrated Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Club, a private GOP haunt adjacent to the Republican National Committee’s offices.
More than a dozen conservative lawmakers — including Republican Study Group Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio — met there for dinner, and the topic of conversation veered toward how to push leadership to pursue a “more profound direction” forward, according to several lawmakers in attendance.
The main topic: Why, conservatives ask, is the party holding back when it has spent a year waiting — fruitlessly — for Holder to comply with a subpoena?
Venting his frustration with the foot-dragging, last week week, Congressman Trey Gowdy of SC, told Ginny Simone of NRA TV that there was no excuse for it.
There is no argument on the other side in compliance with a subpoena. I mean there is no argument! I mean anarchy is the only argument on the other side. So if we’re not willing to press the issue, are your listeners going to have any confidence that we’ll be bold and courageous if they give us the the White House and the Senate?
They also want to know why the GOP isn’t trying to draw a more stark contrast with Obama – something a lot of us grassroots conservatives have been grousing about, here at home. Go ahead and use the S word. It’s what he is – we all know it. Highlight his thug tactics, corruption, shredding of the Constitution, and unprecedented power grabs.
But oh no….we don’t want to scare off independents, who are by definition – people who don’t pay much attention or they’d have stronger opinions about politics. Sometimes the ugly truth is an attention getter. Wake them up.
Passing the budget of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is a start, but hardly enough, they say. Republicans should be touting their proposed overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid and passing more bills to show that their plan to deal with the nation’s crumbling entitlement system is more responsible than Obama’s, the lawmakers argue.
In short, these conservatives want more from Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)
“There’s no use to having the majority if you are going to be hamstrung by your perception of political vicissitudes,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina , who was at the dinner.
It almost seems like establishment Republicans are most comfortable in crouching, defensive postures. How this going to look? How’s the media going to report it? How’s it going to play? Let’s keep our messaging bland so as not to offend.
Despite his public praise for Issa’s efforts to learn more about the controversial operation, the newspaper said “behind the scenes” Boehner and other top House GOP leaders are worried about the political impact a contempt resolution could have in an election year. “With the other issues, the economy and everything else, I think they would like to focus on that,” Republican Rep. Dan Burton, a former chairman of the committee, told Roll Call. “I don’t think they’re opposed to going ahead with the contempt citation; it’s just that if we can get the Justice Department to move without having to move it, they would probably prefer that.” But a GOP aide suggested to Roll Call there is also concern that going after Holder, the first black attorney general under the first black president, could create a racial backlash against Republicans. “Especially after Trayvon,” this aide told Roll Call, in a reference to the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
At the Capitol Hill Club dinner, feelings were particularly raw about how leadership is handling the Fast and Furious controversy. Mulvaney turned to Gowdy in front of the group and asked whether contempt is appropriate at this point.
Yes, said Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor.
“I don’t know the speaker well. I know Kevin and Eric very well. I don’t feel at all drummed out by them,” Gowdy said, speaking broadly of his relationship with leadership. But “there’s a sense to not ruffle the waters. My response is, ‘You’re asking people to trust you with the gears of government and leadership. If your sole objective is to just hang on, and not do anything with leadership, that’s not a compelling case.’“So, if we are being drummed out, it’s our fault. Because the majority of the people in our conference describe themselves as conservative. What you’ll see in the next couple weeks, is push back from the conservatives.”