Guest post by Representative Keith Self (R-TX 3rd District)
I have been reflecting on the defeat of Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House. How was Jordan, the founder of the House Freedom Caucus, and the second most popular conservative in the nation blocked by the Republican party?
I can tell you.
He was a threat to the Swamp. Yes, America lost to the swamp. Again. Hill reporters (who live and breathe on Washington speculation) quickly chalked up the defeat to differences and preferences within the Republican Conference. However, those in the grassroots realize that Jordan’s defeat represents something far greater – something that has been building for a long time.
Jordan was a threat to “the system.” Aka, the traditions, the hierarchy, and the old-guard beliefs engrained in Congress to protect the Washington elites who control money and power with no intention of relinquishing either. To “the system,” known to many as the Establishment, Jordan represented the thousands of Americans who lit up Washington’s phonelines last week demanding real change – perhaps the most frightening possibility to the Establishment.
While admittedly it was dismaying to witness the Republican conference block Jordan from becoming Speaker of the House, I looked at the situation from a wider lens and things appeared quite different. In fact, it was stunning to see just how far the conservative movement has come.
I can see how far it has come because I can still see myself standing at Preston Road in Plano, Texas, at one of the original Tea Party rallies in 2009. It was during this movement that Americans across the nation headed to the street corners to wave flags, gathered at rallies, and lit up the phones across Washington, DC demanding the need for our leaders to shed us of taxation without representation.
That same spark I saw in the Tea Party has burst into the flame I witnessed at beginning of the 118th Congress (my first term).
In January, a flare was sent up by a group I was part of. You may know them as “The Twenty.” A new era of conservatism had landed on the beaches of Capitol Hill, and frankly I’m not sure Washington was ready for us. We bandied together and succeeded in obtaining a strong Rules package with requirements like budget rules, single issue bills, and having 72-hours to review legislation – commonsense to us, inconvenient to Washington politicians.
This Rules package was the first step towards changing the trajectory of Washington – and by that I include the Establishment ways of thinking, tired strategies from the 90’s, and a strong aversion to out-of-the-box ideas. Again, Washington wasn’t ready for us.
Since January, a fierce boldness has spread in the House Republican Conference. The Establishment is starting to realize it cannot count on all of us to kiss the ring and vote. In May, 71 Republicans bucked House leadership and listened to the American people, voting against an unacceptable debt ceiling deal. In September, 90 Republicans again left the ranks and voted against the 45-day clean government funding bill. Bottom line, the two major bills that made it from the House to the Senate and ultimately were signed into law by Joe Biden, required Republicans to get Democrat votes.
This is not the PR the ruling class wants.
Because of the conservative movement, that I believe is rising across America, more leaders are emboldened to ask the tough question – even of our own party. What have Republicans accomplished this year?
By asking the tough questions and bringing forward real debate, the Establishment is no longer able to operate in the shadows. Lines are emerging, and it’s becoming crystal clear to the American people who is working for them and who is out for themselves.
No one can promise that setbacks will not happen. Those who have long held power WILL fight back. But I and the small band of Republican conservatives remaining in the House will continue our efforts to move our nation forward.
I believe we are witnessing the emergence of a profound movement that crosses political lines.
Rejoice in that hope! And fight on.
Congressman Keith Self is currently serving his first term in Congress as the Representative of the 3rd District of Texas. After graduation from High School in Amarillo, he accepted an appointment to The United States Military Academy at West Point, where he began a 25-year career of service to our country.