Why did two of the GOP’s most hysterical right wingers just contradict themselves?
If you haven’t been following the story for the past few weeks, John Boehner announced a lawsuit against the President claiming he abused his power of Congress and the Constitution via executive orders. On late Wednesday, the House formally started the arduous process by voting to sue Obama.
The Republican-led House approved a resolution on Wednesday authorizing Speaker John Boehner to sue President Barack Obama over claims he abused his powers at the expense of Congress and the Constitution.
The vote was 225-201.
Republicans argue Obama’s executive orders in a number of areas were unlawful because it’s the job of Congress to make or change laws. But they believe his handling of the Affordable Care act gives them the best chance at proving their case, and are basing the suit on that issue.
House authorization now allows GOP-leaders to have the unusual challenge filed in federal court. The time frame for that is not clear and many legal experts question whether any judge would take it on.
This has been a long time coming, so to see it finally voted on so the process can start isn’t surprising.
What is surprising is the Republican members of Congress who voted against it.
Not a single House Democrat voted for the resolution and five Republicans opposed it. They were: GOP members Paul Broun of Maryland, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Steve Stockman of Texas, and Walter Jones of North Carolina.
Jones and Massie are, by Republican standards, libertarian-leaning moderates, so it’s not surprising that they would buck the party on this. Scott Garrett is hands down the most conservative Congressman from a Northeastern state, but he has to run for re-election this year in his New Jersey district, so it’s not very surprising that he wouldn’t want his name attached to his process while his opponent runs attack ad after attack ad alleging that he’s wasting taxpayer money.
The odd names on this list are Broun, who is actually from Georgia, and Stockman. Both men are Tea Party-approved congressmen who gave up their seats in the House in order to run for the US Senate – Broun against a crowded open field which included two other Congressmen, but eventually saw businessman David Perdue win, and Stockman with an ill-fated, lazy primary against the popular, powerful John Cornyn. Because neither Texas nor Georgia have “Favorite Son” laws, Stockman and Broun weren’t allowed to run in two primaries at the same time, meaning that they aren’t running for re-election and will leave office at the end of the year.
Stockman and Broun may be slightly less visible than the Ted Cruzes and Joe Wilsons of the world when it comes to Tea Party hackery, but both have had made waves in the media for being on the far right of the Republican Party. Stockman once compared Obama to Saddam Hussein and said he would file articles of impeachment against him if he used an executive order on gun control, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. Broun is most famous for his comments that embryology and evolution are “lies straight from the pit of hell”, but more recently, he claimed that guns were given to us by God to have everywhere.
The point is that this is a complete about face for Stockman and Broun to vote against the lawsuit. Why?
Purely speculating, this would be one way to stick it to the establishment Republicans who worked against them in their primary campaigns. Republican decisionmakers whole-heartedly backed Cornyn and assumingly gave Broun no backing over either Jack Kingston or Phil Gingrey, the other two Republican Congressmen running for the seat. Because the bill was always going to pass, this might be a jab to the gut for spurning the candidates.
Another reason would be that now that they don’t have to worry about re-election, they have either completely checked out or are trying to push non-politicized issues to the forefront – Broun this week cosponsored a bill that would legalize medical marijuana on the federal level, a stark departure from his previously stated position, indicating that yes, if you don’t have to worry about re-election, you will let people know how you feel:
“As I promised on the campaign trail, I would make the Constitution my primary guide on how I voted on all matters. [The vote on the Hinchey Amendment] was a constitutional issue pertaining to ‘restraining’ the federal government from interfering with the right of states to establish public policy on matters not specifically addressed by the Constitution.”
Stockman, on the other hand, is still advocating for impeachment on the IRS issue. So, either Stockman temporarily grew a conscience for five minutes, or maybe he didn’t understand what he was voting on. Either way, the fact that Paul Broun and Steve Stockman didn’t join 225 of their fellow Republicans in voting to sue the President is pretty shocking to say the least. I can only hope that Broun has a sudden epiphany about global warming before an even bigger nutcracker succeeds him.
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