An Open Letter To The Freshman Republican Victors
By Erick Erickson
I am putting this up the Sunday before the election because in the noise and hubbub after the election it will be drowned out and it is very, very important.
If you are working on one of those challenger campaigns and will come into the House of Representatives and Senate after November 2nd, please read this and get your future Congressman or Senator to read it.
In the next 72 hours, you will be elected to the United States Congress. Suddenly you will find that you have friends you never knew you had. Remember that most of them are not actually your friends.
Many members of Congress will begin whispering sweet nothings in your ear wooing you to vote for them and their rules for the House and Senate. Remember that these same men are the exact same people that the voters rejected in 2006 and again in 2008.
Remember that every poll showing a Republican landslide on Tuesday also shows that the public hates these men.
Introduce yourself to Jeb Hensarling, Jeff Flake, and Jim Jordan. Talk with your fellow freshmen like Tim Huelskamp, Justin Amash, and Jeff Duncan. Those are the people who will become your closest friends who you’ll share a foxhole with when leadership fails you but a battle must be waged.
Remember that some of the people who will come to Congress with you, whether it is Charlie Bass or Steve Stivers or Kevin Yoder or Robert Hurt, etc. are unrepentant tax hixers and some will want to transcend partisanship to work across the aisle. You got elected by being the Party of No. Don’t let the sweet nothings of the Beltway suddenly convince you otherwise.
No is a very powerful word in Washington and it is not used often enough.
Finally, here is the last bit of advice I have for you today. Remember the GOP Pledge? One person — Barry Jackson, who is John Boehner’s Chief of Staff — single handedly had support for traditional marriage stripped from the Pledge and did so after showing a version of the Pledge to conservatives that had it in there to get their support.
One person and a staffer from John Boehner’s office no less.
When you get to Washington you will be told you need a professional staff of lobbyists, careerists, etc. to help guide you. You will be told that “you just don’t understand” or “you are naive” or “the School House Rock version of how a bill becomes a law is too simplified for the real world.”
The people telling you this are the people the voters hate and you should not trust. Largely they will be people in leadership, particularly staffers, who will soon depart for K Street where they hope to profit off their relationship with you. They will work with people like Trent Lott to try to co-opt you.
Fight the idea that you must yield to their ways instead of them yielding to your ways. You, after all, have not been driven from power like these men have.
You will have friends you did not know you had who really are your friends when you stand up and fight your leadership. Do not let the Rules Committee be a tool of Leadership. Do not men like Jerry Lewis who helped drive us from power in 2006 remain in power. Do not let leadership have control over committee assignments.
Do not trust Mitch McConnell and Lame-R! Alexander and John Boehner and Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy even though they did so much for you. Remember, as much as they did for you, you are more important to them than they are to you. But for you, they would still be in the minority.
Do not trust the leadership’s staff. They view many of you as problems and potential disasters despite that you will vote more reliably Republican than their preferred candidates and pets.
You have it within you and with the word “No” to prevent the Republicans from going back to the ways that got them removed from office in 2006. Read this to find four easy ways to fix things once you get up there.
If you fight them you will be rewarded. If you succumb, the tea party will come for you in just a few short years.