When he was elected in 2010, Adam Kinzinger was one of the new, young Tea Party conservatives that rode the wave of revolution into office. The Air Force veteran who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom was ready to bring that same military determination to Washington and change things.
In a recent column for TexasGOPVote.com, however, Kinzinger unloads on those who he believes are hurting the conservative cause and the Republican party, and it’s not who you think.
After five years in office, Kinzinger seems fed up with political vultures who denigrate the GOP and the “establishment” only to benefit themselves rather than the conservative cause. In a brilliant takedown of a disturbing trend that stresses grandstanding over results and rhetoric over action. It’s an incredibly brave stand for a young conservative politician to make, and one has to wonder what Kinzinger has seen to take him from Tea Party leader to criticizing some of its more vocal elements. He writes:
Their sole goal is to promote purity for profit. These are talk-show hosts and pundits who anger the base to hook an audience and sell ad space. Scream louder, get angrier, call people names, and the checks roll in.
Some so-called “think tanks” in Washington, D.C., even create score cards, often contrived and authored by young, unelected people, simply to drive the fundraising effort that pays their salaries. Just look at your recent emails or pleas for cash. It’s not uncommon to read “we are the ones keeping the GOP pure,” or “purge the RINOs.” These profiteers hijacking the tea party label for their own self-interest are neither Republicans nor conservatives, and they certainly don’t represent the best of any wing of our party.
What does it take to be a real conservative today according to those false prophets? It often requires voting against the Republican agenda, preventing our majority from acting its will and requiring leaders to beg Nancy Pelosi for votes to pass do-or-die legislation. A few years ago, we prided ourselves on protecting small business; today, the prophets attack the Chamber of Commerce. We used to take pride in our exports and manufacturing; today, the “profits” call Ex-Im Bank an anathema, despite every industrialized nation having one. We used to be the party for a strong national defense, but the “profits” say keeping the ruthless sequester on our military is a top priority.
Even if you do not agree with Kinzinger, his take is incredibly insightful and deserves a read. He makes a profound point when he points out “The very progress conservatives are hungry for is being stifled by those who would have us believe we can have everything we want without compromise, especially with a Democrat in the White House…Government has been built on compromise, from the Constitutional Convention forward. The Republican Party needs leadership that can reach beyond the entertainment and profit motives of the “profits” and spark new hope in the hearts of the American people…I’m done pretending this problem doesn’t exist. I’m tired of seeing our party destroyed from the inside.”
Unfortunately, Kinzinger is right: there is a veritable cottage industry of “mad as hell” conservative pundits and commentators, who channel the public’s frustration with President Obama and Washington gridlock in whatever direction they see fit. Too often, these “profiteers” jump on whatever political bandwagon they think will benefit them, regardless of the consequences. When it holds certain politicians to account, their actions are positive, but as Kinzinger points out, they often harm any chance of advancing the conservative agenda by rewarding party purity and political grandstanding over actual results.