Heritage Action for America: Project Tora! Tora! Tora!


Last week a curious little news item surfaced that might have attracted more focused attention if it hadn’t been lost in the sturm und drung of Scandalpalooza.  It had to do with a letter from Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, schooling House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in how to do their jobs.  Needham’s advice boiled down to forget about legislation, it’ll only make us look bad; focus on your one true mission: destroy Obama. 

I guess, tactically, that’s not bad advice for several reasons: a) destroying Obama is pretty much the only unifying ideology left among Republicans and b) Republicans have no intention of legislating anyway so why not make that look like a shrewd political ploy.

You can read the entire letter here but here’s my personal favorite bit:

To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference.  Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article.

[Not the only “circular” activity going on with the GOP these days, I might add]

Now, if I were John Boehner or Eric Cantor, I can’t help feeling that I’d be more than a little pissed at some nerdy think-tank pedant telling me how to do my job [even though there is every indication that I don’t know how to do it].  I’d be pissed.  It took them a few days of reading tea leaves and consulting the Magic 8-Ball but, sure enough, now they’re pissed. 

GovExev.com was first to cover some of the Republican backlash to Heritage Action‘s no legislation advisory:

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), a conservative Republican Study Committee member who said he normally supports Heritage Action’s efforts said:

This is the House of Representatives, we need to step up and do our work.

Better late than never, I suppose, Dave.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said:

We’ve got two things occurring at the same time: committees doing oversight work, and committees doing legislative work. I don’t see the legislative agenda being changed at all—and that’s how it should be.

According to a senior House leadership aide:

Heritage Action isn’t concerned with the harmony of the House Republican Conference. Rather, the group wrote to leadership with the sole purpose of preventing legislation they’ve fought against from coming to the floor. Are they opposed to the farm bill because of timing, or are they just opposed to the farm bill? It’s not a serious argument.

To be honest, I find Congressional aides’ comments a whale of a lot more insightful than anything coming out of a politician’s mouth.  Indeed, Needham specifically called out the FARRM Act and the Market Fairness (Internet Sales Tax) Act as two pieces of legislation, specifically, that should never make it to the House floor if the GOP is to survive. 

If Heritage Action were truly concerned about the future prospects of the GOP as a viable political party there are many more constructive pieces of advice they might offer . . . like go hide, for a while, and stay away from anything that looks like a microphone . . . for starters.

Our daily news is filled with examples of how pathologically divided the GOP is and how they’d better make some serious adjustments just to stay alive and none of those examples have anything to do with the FARRM Act.  The problems are much more systemic and life-threatening than a little internecine squabbling on any one piece of legislation.

As witness, this little melodrama that played out in the Senate yesterday:

In the latest expression of Republican frustration with conservative GOP colleagues, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME) excoriated Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) for persistently refusing to initiate House-Senate budget negotiations.

“For four years, four years, we complained about the fact that the majority leader … would refuse to bring a budget to the floor of the United States Senate,” McCain said. “What [do] we on my side of the aisle keep doing? We don’t want a budget unless — unless — we put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented.

McCain called the GOP’s stance “a little bit bizarre” and Collins added:

We have called repeatedly for a return to regular order in this body. Well, regular order is going to conference.

She said her party’s stance “certainly is ironic at the least. It is an opportunity for the Republican House to argue for its budget.”

Well, I guess Collins is spending too much time on Planet Moderate because we all know why Republicans don’t want to “argue for their budget.”  It’s because their budget is a dog that don’t hunt and a guaranteed electoral disaster if they argue for it before 2014.

Also, this week, there was this little gem, reported by Roll Call about GOP aides losing patience with House Republicans’ partisan witch-hunt over the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks on Benghazi, and arguing that the Party should be focused more on substantive issues, such as lessons learned and how to recalibrate diplomatic security.

“We have got to get past that and figure out what are we going to do going forward,” a GOP aide told Roll Call. “Some of the accusations, I mean you wouldn’t believe some of this stuff. It’s just — I mean, you’ve got to be on Mars to come up with some of this stuff.”

Yes, well.  And just one more thing before I let go of Heritage Action . . .

As you may or may not know, Heritage Action is a registered 501(c)(4) organization.  Now a 501(c)(4) organization, according to IRS rules, operates exclusively for the promotion of “social welfare” i.e., in promoting the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.  501(c)(4) organizations are tax exempt but differ from charitable organizations in that they may participate in political events and elections however they are not required to disclose their donors’ identities making them a haven for “dark money” political spending.

That also means that all of us American taxpayers are subsidizing the very organization that’s advising our lawmakers not to do their job.  I would be quite interested in hearing whatever pretzel logic turns that activity into “promoting social welfare” and earning tax exempt status into the bargain.

Posted by Bette Noir on 05/22/13 at 10:50 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBqhatevwrElection '14

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[Not the only “circular” activity going on with the GOP these days, I might add]

Also too, cluster related program activities.

The problem with these drooling fuckwits is that even when they have gathered in a circular firing squad their aim is as shitty as their political aims. Once, just once I wish they would hit the target.

I wish the average, non-politically engaged ‘Merikan understood that: (1) the Tea Party groups that this whole bugtussle is about were asking for tax exempt status as charities that can’t have politics as their primary mission, (2) that the big “sin” against the Tea Party groups that applied for tax exempt status is that they got an extra hard looking over, and (3) NONE of them were denied tax exempt status (unlike one liberal group, which was also singled out but was denied tax exempt status).  Were the fucking fuck is the scandal in all this?  Oh right, Fox News, followed in the parade by the rest of the so-called liberal media.

Now, if I were John Boehner or Eric Cantor, I can’t help feeling that I’d be more than a little pissed at some nerdy think-tank pedant telling me how to do my job

It so much easier to outsource the thinking… leaves more time for hitting the links.

It so much easier to outsource the thinking… leaves more time for hitting the links.

Intriguing point, @B4. Still I’d have thought that egos such as these would demand that the eggheads stay in their ivory towers and out of the headlines.

Even though MSM didn’t make much of this, HA definitely came out looking lame (not to mention pissing off their gods).

Something tells me that Heritage will be demanding a lot more attention now that Jim “Mr Big Stuff” DeMint is at the helm.

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