Russ Vought is Executive Director of the Republican Study Committee, essentially the conservative caucus in the House. I agree with his general point, that the post-election battle for control of the Party in Congress is going to have ramifications for 2012 and beyond, and the incoming members aren’t at all ready to make the decisions they’ll need to make.
This is all predicated, of course, on Republicans retaking the House. If we do not, the long knives of the left and GOP moderates will be drawn, brandished, and used mercilessly. And we have won nothing yet.
Freshmen are unprepared for the transition from candidate, living on Chinese takeout and continental breakfast, to Congressman. They are even less ready to stand up and demand a change to leadership of a body they have not yet officially entered.
But this year is different. The new members of Congress will have to be fully up to speed even as they recover from election night celebrations.
A word to the wise: you got elected to take back the government, not to go along and get along. Take courage. Be strong, and unify quickly with those who are already there who share your beliefs. It’s not about you, but your cause.
You may not get the ideal leadership team, but at least do not get steamrolled.
As Election Day approaches, no outcome should be taken for granted, but it looks increasingly likely that Republicans will take control of the House, and perhaps even the Senate. For those who want to reform Congress, increased thought and planning needs to take place now because many decisions are made the very next week after the election when Republicans “organize.”
During these organization meetings, Republicans will elect their leadership for the upcoming Congress, agree upon their internal conference rules, and give their blessing to the slate of members who will represent them on the powerful “steering” Committee that distributes committee assignments. Much of this resembles a bum’s rush where the current Leadership offers a series of resolutions, often designed to preserve their own power, that are quickly agreed to because none of the members in attendance are prepared (or willing) to object and consider the long-term ramifications for conservatives.
Yet in many respects, these organizational meetings will lay the framework for whether the incoming class of members will actually be able to change the way Congress and their party does business.