I’m not sure anything better captures the GOP’s inability to grasp what’s happening to it than the House Freedom Caucus wrestling with how to grapple with the rise of Donald Trump and how to resist his candidacy. Donald Trump is the Freedom Caucus. You might even say, in the beginning was the Freedom Caucus. And then the Freedom Caucus became flesh and walked among us. And his name was Donald Trump.
With more mainstream conservatives you can at least argue that there is a difference in temperament if not ideology or policies. But the Freedom Caucus is the bomb-throwing wing of the right-wing of the GOP House conference. Bombast, government shutdowns, endless rage at party leaders who want to defy gravity to do things their constitutional powers give them no power to do – that’s the Freedom Caucus. They eventually deposed John Boehner because they were convinced that if he and the leadership had let the shutdowns and debt default crises go on just a little bit longer, Obama would have folded. As I said, Trump is the Freedom Caucus become flesh and walking among us.
“A lot of us are really nervous,” Freedom Caucus member Matt Salmon told TPM. “We feel Obama’s a tyrant. A lot of people are worried about trading their tyrant for our tyrant.”
This captures so many of the problems. We talked about the issue of “hate debt” and “nonsense debt” and here we have it in spades. Spending years spouting nonsense about the cerebral and temperamentally cautious Obama being a “tyrant” and other such nonsense is a significant contributing cause of Trumpism. When you’re saying Obama is a “tyrant” you’ve basically flushed your credibility for ominous ‘dictator rising’ warnings about Trump down the drain.
It will be a profound struggle or at least take several working groups for the Freedom Caucus to figure out why they’re actually against Trump. Since he embodies everything they’ve ever stood for.