Republican ‘Lemmings in Suicide Vests’

The House Freedom Caucus, made up of 40 right-wing conservatives, including Mark Meadows, a former restaurant owner from Western North Carolina, was instrumental in forcing the resignation of Speaker Boehner. This group, in the words of one mainstream Republican congressman, Rep. Charlie Dent, represents a faction of the Republican Party that does not represent conservative values. “Disorder, instability, chaos, intemperance, and anarchy are not” conservative values, he told The New Yorker.

If this faction of the Republican Party has its way in the presidential campaign, it will nominate someone who appeals only to Republicans, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma observed. “If you don’t get somebody to start changing the math among minorities and millennials, then we won’t have a President, and, over time, this majority itself will be in danger,” he added.

Members of the caucus are still deeply disappointed with the Republican leaders’ “betrayal” on the budget. They are angry that Congress funded Planned Parenthood, did not ban Syrian refugees from the country, and agreed to major new federal spending. One fellow Republican, Devin Nunes, a Republican from California and an ally of Boehner’s, once described the caucus as “lemmings with suicide vests.”

They have lost touch with reality, Nunes said. In the years since his arrival in 2002, there has been an explosion of hyper-partisan online groups that spread false information about what’s going on in Congress. Constituents are less informed and more upset.

The overwhelming majority of his constituent mail is now about the far-out ideas, and only a small portion is “based on something that is mostly true.” He added, “It’s dramatically changed politics and politicians, and what they’re doing.”

Ryan Lizza, New Yorker article.

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