War of the Conservatives, the Outcome Disastrous

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 28 2011 8:08 AM

War of the Conservatives, the Outcome Disastrous

My story from last night was about the agonizing but inevitable-seeming march of conservative Republican members into the tender arms of John Boehner. John Stanton and Humberto Sanchez wrote about something else -- the pissy intra-caucus warfare that broke out in the Republican Study Committee. It has to do with too-real e-mails, something I have a passing familiarity with. Members who were concerned with passing a bill blew up at Paul Teller, long the executive director of the RSC. Read the whole story, but if you're pressed for time, this part sums up the fight.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Several of the Members on the list are also members of the RSC and were none too pleased that their dues were being used to gin up attacks against them, according to numerous lawmakers and staff.
In that email, an RSC junior staffer wrote: “Today is the day to kill the Boehner deal. We need statements coming up to the Hill every hour of the day in mounting opposition to the plan. If we keep this from ever coming to the Floor, we have a greater chance of victory than defeating a vote on the floor.”
In an apparent reference to a previous email from Erickson, the aide continued, “To echo Erick’s email, we need some serious heat up here,” before listing the Republicans whom the activists were to target.
During Wednesday’s Republican Conference meeting, Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.) read the text of an email that Teller sent to outside activists.
According to a copy of the email, Teller wrote: “Guys — not feeling good. Just got out of Conference, and there was a lot of rally-‘round-the-Speaker sentiment, even while admitting the plan was ‘not perfect.’”
Teller’s email went on to complain about the process outlined in the closed meeting, noting that the “bill text will be available tonight and will likely be on the floor Wednesday morning, in clear violation of the 3-day layover rule. The CCB pledge is nowhere to be found in any of these deliberations.”
Walden — who bluntly told Teller that he was “privileged” to be in the meeting — then lit into the aide, saying, “You should not use that privilege to tear down this team for outside organizations.”
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It's fantastic drama. But I talked to plenty of conservative members after this and heard no one pushing back against the meaning of the blow-up -- conservatives rallying around a compromise plan, angry at outside opposition telling them to balk.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.