I’m often asked if I will run for political office again. My response is always found in the wise words of King Solomon in Proverbs Chapter 3, verses 5-7. Some folks have even asked me recently if I’d consider returning to Florida to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Well, that dog don’t hunt.I have many great friends in the Sunshine State whom I miss, but the flag flies at my home, “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” where many a Tennessee Volunteer came to fight for liberty.
But there’s a deep seated reason that shall always make me cautious about running for political officer again: I am a Conservative Republican. Back in 2012, it was the Florida legislature that redistricted me out of the congressional district I was so honored to represent. It was an effort led by State Senator Don Gaetz, who was Senate President and voted for by a super majority of Republicans and signed by Republican Governor Rick Scott.Even when the great people of South Florida — especially St Lucie County — were instrumental in providing evidence of voter fraud and issues with the results of the 2012 election, via St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker, the Florida Republican secretary of state, attorney general and governor did nothing. Funny enough — the Democrats still brought a lawsuit against the Florida 2012 congressional redistricting, and the Florida Supreme Court overturned the work of Don Gaetz.
Regardless, there had only EVER been two black Republican members of the U.S. Congress. The first was Josiah T. Walls, during Reconstruction and I was the second. But the Republicans — specifically the GOP establishment — seem to pride themselves in eating up their own. I have the bite marks to show for it. However, I will never stop fighting for our Republic.
And so, when I read this most recent case of the GOP establishment endeavoring to devour its own, it angered me.As reported by the Washington Post, “A group with close ties to House Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), is airing a half-million dollars’ worth of television ads in more than two dozen media markets urging unruly conservatives [those who disagree and think for themselves] to support GOP health-care legislation.
The American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy group affiliated with the Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC, is targeting 30 members it says are part of the House Freedom Caucus — the hard-line conservative group that has threatened to oppose the American Health Care Act over concerns that it does not do enough to roll back former president Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The ads, set to run for two weeks, make the case that the GOP bill is a true conservative alternative to the ACA, not a watered-down version of it: “Obamacare is full of job-destroying mandates. The new plan eliminates them. Obamacare put bureaucrats in control. The Republicans’ plan puts patients and doctors in charge. Obamacare stuck families with soaring premiums. The new plan provides more choices and lower costs.” The spot ends with footage of President Trump telling Congress to “repeal and replace Obamacare” in his recent joint session address and asks viewers to tell their congressman to “vote with President Trump.”“It’s time for conservatives to unite behind President Trump and Speaker Ryan to pass the American Health Care Act,” Corry Bliss, AAN’s executive director, said in a statement. “This bill gives conservatives the opportunity to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the disaster that is Obamacare.”
It is not AAN’s first foray into advocating for a Republican health-care plan, but earlier rounds of ads targeted a variety of members — including positive spots that thanked several who are considered close leadership allies for supporting efforts to make good on Trump’s campaign promises. The new ads are largely focused on the bill’s critics — though a few members, such as Reps. Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), sit on the committees that drafted the health-care measure. It’s the first time the AAN has targeted hard-line conservatives under Ryan, but the group became a flash point during the tenure of former House speaker John A. Boehner.”
This is abysmal, disgusting and deplorable! And if this is something President Trump condones, then I have some major concerns about our new president. And I say that with no regret.We do not need this policy of coercion and intimidation in order to do something that doesn’t meet the mail. The GOP leadership is supposed to seek out counsel and the ability to promote better ideals in order to get the true conservative, free market policy to fix our healthcare system as I shared my assessment of the GOP-presented American Healthcare Act here earlier this week.
Are there good points to the AHCA, yes, but the departure point cannot be from Obamacare: it has to be from zero. We must realize that the government should not be mandating any aspect of the most personal point in our lives, our healthcare. Does something need to be done, absolutely, just not what we’re seeing here in the AHCA. And certainly, we shouldn’t be like the progressive socialists who fail to understand the concept of governing but rather only of ruling.
Why is the GOP leadership allowing the focused targeting of members of their own House Republican conference, by our own? I despise the “circular firing squad.” This is where Speaker Paul Ryan should step in and demand that this stops. It is imperative that members who represent their constituents — not Speaker Ryan, GOP leadership, or special interests — are allowed to disagree and present other thoughts, perspectives, and insights. Please tell me Speaker Ryan and the House GOP leadership team is not running some fascist cabal that demands members be subservient and subjugate themselves before the gods of the establishment.
I hate to remind Corry Bliss, the AAN Executive Director, that the GOP has given its promise to roll back, repeal and eradicate the failure known as Obamacare. Does this mean GOP establishment political insiders, such as it appears the AAN represents, care little about the promises to constitutional conservatives?
Is their focus no different from that of the Democrats, just the opposite side of the same coin? And please Mr. Bliss, do not offend us and insult our intelligence; the AHCA is indeed a version of the Affordable Care Act — subsidies and refundable tax credits are the same damn thing. Mandating a 30 percent penalty on individuals who allow their insurance coverage to lapse then try to reapply is not the government’s business; that can be handled by the free market industry. There are still exchanges left in place, but yes, we do appreciate the rolling back on Medicaid expansion. We, the ignorant, are smart enough to understand if there are refundable tax credits, someone pays for them. So there will still be high premiums, perhaps not as high, but there will still be a wealth transfer.
President Trump talked about “draining the swamp” of Washington DC, but some of those creatures aren’t just Democrats. If President Trump sits back and allows this to happen, it will set a horrible precedent that dissenting Members will be beaten into submission, and publicly targeted by those who claim to be Republicans.
Remember, Republicans withdrew their support for Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder. Ask yourself, did the Senate Democrats EVER undermine one of their own cabinet nominees? Nah, the left comes together regardless of their lack of integrity and character.
The great thing about being a conservative is that we believe in individual sovereignty, the freedom to think. We reject the collectivist viewpoint that shuns individual ingenuity and thought for the insidious belief in “group think.” The AHCA should not resemble the hidden development process much as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The House Democrats denied the Republicans any chance to participate and improve the ACA…I would hope that Speaker Ryan isn’t making that same mistake. However, it does appear Ryan is allowing this to happen and may not desire to hear those policy points that will ensure Obamacare is tossed upon the ash heap of history…and Americans truly end up with patient-centered, free market healthcare — a policy that reduces the government impact and elevates the individual’s responsibility.
Speaker Paul Ryan, I demand that you call off these dogs and ensure these ads don’t air. If they do, that’s rather telling. Then again, perhaps you’ll give the AAN a green light to run ads against me. After all, I don’t recall National Republican Congressional Committee or House GOP leadership saying anything back in 2012 when the Florida redistricting plan was approved…and y’all knew about it!