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Holding Our Friends' Feet to the Fire

Mick Mulvaney and Ted Yoho
One of the best ways to separate the principled limited government conservatives in Congress from the establishment Republicans in Congress is to check the record and see who has been rocking the boat; and who has voted against the big spending/big government House leadership is a good measure of “rocking the boat” on Capitol Hill.

That is why we were completely amazed to read in The Wall Street Journal this quote from Tea Party backed Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-3): "They're overlooking what we're here for," Yoho said in criticism of conservative opposition to the Farm Bill. "We're here to legislate."

Given that Yoho was just elected in 2012 we never thought we’d see the day when a Tea Partier, elected to fight big government, was so quickly turned into a “legislator.”

Likewise, South Carolina’s Mick Mulvaney, whom we regularly laud on this site for his principled stands for liberty and against big government, was quoted by the WSJ as complaining that Heritage Action and other conservative organizations had opposed the Farm Bill strategy he and some other House conservatives pursued: "We went into battle thinking they [Heritage Action] were on our side, and we find out they're shooting at us," said Mulvaney.

We would expect these kinds of complaints from House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, who is good on many social issues, but rarely meets a federal farm or agriculture industry program he doesn’t like.

But to hear complaints about conservative opposition to big government from two among the regular House “boat rockers,” what gives?

We are not going to get down in the weeds of the differences of opinion among conservatives over the details of the Farm Bill and the two bill versus one bill strategy other than to say that the $20 billion in alleged “cuts” over ten years is a drop in the bucket in programs that have grown explosively during the Obama presidency.

The bigger problem as we see it is that Yoho, Mulvaney and many otherwise conservative Members of Congress sometimes forget – hopefully just briefly – what their role is and who sets the agenda in our representative form of government, and that is “We the People.”

Too many otherwise conservative individuals get elected to Congress and soon come to believe that they are “leaders” entitled to uncritical support, instead of “representatives” translating the wishes of “We the People” into policy and action.

And they get annoyed when “We the People” question their policy decisions or demand real action instead of words.

We support Heritage Action, The Club for Growth and other conservative organizations that are at the forefront of using the technology of the new media to translate the wishes of “We the People” into political and policy action.

Even when that means holding our friends’ feet to the fire.

Holding our friends’ feet to the fire is something that we do, and we think conservatives must do – regularly if required – to keep our representatives focused on what we think is their most important job; representing “We the People” and managing the government according to limited government constitutional conservative principles.

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