According to a Politico report, there is grumbling and discord among members of the conservative Freedom Caucus that threatens to pull it apart with one former member saying it is devolving into an "extreme outrage machine" instead of attempting to influence policy and pass legislation.
Leading off with a squabble that broke out between Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) at a get-together last month where the two had to be separated, Olivia Beavers is reporting that the Freedom Caucus, once dedicated to conservative causes, changed drastically under Donald Trump and now there are fears it may lose whatever influence it once had.
"The run-in between Greene and Boebert is a microcosm of a bigger identity crisis that’s starting to take hold within the Freedom Caucus," Beavers wrote. "A group founded with right-leaning policy ambition that later became a Donald Trump defense team is starting to split in important ways, from how to respond to this week’s Kevin McCarthy tapes to — more fundamentally — whether to reorient itself back to its limited-government roots."
One GOP lawmaker claimed that fight between the two freshman House members is a warning sign about the group's future.
“We need to reevaluate where we’re heading,” Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) lamented. “I like the principles that the Freedom Caucus was founded on, but I think that if we can’t work together as a group and push our ideas in a civil manner, then we’re not going to be very effective.”
Writing that interviews with multiple Freedom Caucus memberships. "paint a picture of a group that shapeshifted as the GOP itself realigned during Trump’s presidency, becoming more populist and nationalist, but less bound by policy principles," Beavers wrote that the influx of new lawmakers like Taylor Greene, Boebert and scandal-plagued Madison Cawthorn (R-MC) has led to some longtime members considering splintering off and forming a new caucus.
"Some of its old-school founding members would prefer the group pick policy battles to push the GOP further right and consider strategic alliances with party leaders who’d prefer to train their fire on Joe Biden — rather than revert to Boehner- or even Trump-era form," Politico reports, adding, "While the Freedom Caucus doesn’t publicly release its roster, it has roughly 35 active current members. That includes several lawmakers whom multiple current and former members say would have been shut out as potential chaos agents if they’d tried to join initially; often pointed to are members like Greene, Boebert and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.). In part because of those Trump acolytes’ influence, some Republicans say privately that they’re watching to see if the Freedom Caucus ends up becoming what it was designed to correct: a bloated GOP group that lacks cohesion."
Former member, and ex-White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney explained what ails the group.
“We were supposed to be thoughtful conservative renegades: cooperating with leadership when that best served conservative goals, and opposing leadership when that was necessary toward the same end,” he stated. "We were not designed to be just obstructionists. We were not designed to be an extreme outrage machine.”
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