Thomas Massie “The GOP has Extracted Their Pound of Flesh”
Bill Kaufman witting in The American Conservative, looks at the battles anti-war, pro-liberty Republicans face within their own party by interviewing two stalwart defenders of peace and liberty: former Tennessee Representative John Duncan and Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie. Representative Massie talked about the GOP establishment’s attempts to “punish” him for consistently voting in favor of peace and liberty:
I have paid a price,” he (Massie) says, with an I’d-do-it-again-in-a-minute smile. “They have extracted their pound of flesh. All of the things they can do to you they have done to me.”
Such as? “Call up donors and tell them to quit giving money to you. Block your legislation. They’ve been kicking around in my district trying to find someone to run against me in the primary.” They even swiped from Massie the chairmanship of the Technology and Innovation Subcommittee, a position one might think befits a holder of 29 patents and two MIT degrees.
“I had to reprint all my letterheads after that,” he says, shaking his head. “Better to laser print the header on my stationery rather than preprint it because you never know….”
This is what happens to independent men who refuse to be neutered on Capitol Hill. For example, for years Ron Paul was denied the Chairmanship of the Monetary Policy subcommittee because he voted against the committee’s big government agenda.
The House Financial Services Committee used to have two subcommittees dealing with monetary policy - one focusing on domestic issues and one focusing on international issues. In 2005, the committee leadership consolidated them into one committee. I was later informed by a staffer for another member that this was done in order to make it easier to deny Dr. Paul a chairmanship.
Dr. Paul was also denied a seat on the International Relations Committee for years because he opposed all foreign aid and oversized intervention. Republican leadership did want to give him a seat on the committee, but they changed their minds after some lobbyists called to object.
Dr. Paul was finally put on the International Relations Committee in 2001, and I was told that was because the Bush Administration did not want someone they knew would oppose their top priority — No Child Left Behind — on the education committee.
It is standard for a freshman member of Congress who previously served to be granted the same security granted their predecessor, but that courtesy was not extended to Dr. Paul.
While Dr. Paul never faced a serious GOP primary opponent, that does not mean the establishment did not try to recruit one. I heard a high-ranking Bush advisor - we’ll call him Karl - flew into Texas to convince a local official to primary against Dr. Paul. Karl promised him behind the scenes help in fundraising, but the local official said Dr. Paul was unbeatable.
As you know Dr. Paul was named Chair of the Monetary Policy Subcommittee in 2011. This was because the House leadership did not want to alienate the liberty movement that arose following Dr. Paul’s 2008 Presidential campaign. This shows we can beat the establishment if we put enough pressure on them and not let up until they give us more than empty platitudes but rather real action that advances the cause of liberty. That is what Campaign for Liberty does, and I am grateful for all supporters that make it possible.
Read Bill Kaufman’s article here.