Dan Morain’s column quotes the typically colorful chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (“Describing the mess that is Congress”; Forum, Oct. 11). Nunes is never one to mince words, having once called his conservative congressional colleagues “lemmings with suicide vests” and “right-wing Marxists.” That makes his complaint about conservatives’ “heated rhetoric” particularly ironic.
Childish and historically inaccurate insults aside, the real problem plaguing the Republican-controlled Congress is the total lack of policy vision. Nunes appears to blame this on conservatives, saying that we have “no credible policy proposals.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Heritage Action, in conjunction with dozens of Nunes’ colleagues and several committee chairman, has put forward a robust policy agenda under the banner of promoting opportunity for all and favoritism to none.
Now, I suppose Nunes could say these “right-wing Marxist” policies are not credible – credibility is in the eye of the beholder, after all. But on one of the rare occasions outgoing Speaker John Boehner allowed one of these bills to the floor, Nunes and 194 of Republican colleagues voted in favor of a truly conservative K-12 education reform bill.
The real problem is that more often than not, Boehner’s leadership team had no interest in advancing these conservative policy solutions. In his own special way, Nunes seems to recognize this, suggesting that Congress “should be focusing on pushing policies out to the candidate.”
No Republican candidate is running on Boehner’s congressional agenda because it is not an agenda meant to inspire. If Nunes and the new GOP leadership team want to inspire the country and push the presidential candidates to embrace truly transformative policies, they will find willing allies with those they have maliciously dubbed suicidal lemmings.
And that is the ultimate irony: The approach advocated by Nunes is destined to fail again and again. It is a slow death march for the Republican Party. The GOP can thrive only if the next speaker and his or her loyal foot soldiers work with conservatives, not against them.
Dan Holler is the communications director for Heritage Action in Washington, D.C.