Here’s what ought to be a fairly simple, straightforward question: does principle matter anymore in America?
There has been much discussion in recent weeks regarding the report by the Columbus Dispatch in which “two Republican sources deeply involved in configuring new Ohio congressional districts” asserted 4th District Representative Jim Jordan may find his territory unfavorably redrawn for next year’s election.
This, according to every media report covering the situation, would be in retribution for Jordan’s “open defiance of” House Speaker John Boehner during the process of negotiating a deal revolving around raising the national debt ceiling.
Mind you, General Assembly members Matt Huffman and Keith Faber – who represent Allen County in the House and Senate respectively and serve on the redistricting subcommittees – have gone on record saying they oppose such a move. They are joined by Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder in publicly expressing such sentiment.
Even Boehner has spoken words designed to create some amount of separation between himself and the story.
However, in light of the assertion that the sentiments expressed above were offered by two Republicans “deeply involved” with reapportionment process, one must wonder how many others in the party share that perspective.
A key barometer indication would be what has Ohio Republican Party Chair Kevin DeWine been saying on the subject?
All this builds-up to a return to the question posed above. Does principle matter anymore?
When it would have been easy to go with the flow and join his fellow Republicans in their verve for compromise Jordan held fast to a decidedly libertarian stance that raising the debt ceiling is only going to push the long-term prospects for U.S. fiscal stability that much closer to impossible.
The only caveat where he was willing to compromise and vote in favor of a debt ceiling increase was if it was accompanied by spending cuts and budgetary constraints which went beyond those proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and common sense dictates would never be supported by his mainstream GOP counterparts, who lack the backbone to embrace such measures.
And, kudos are warranted for Jordan that an aide for the Republican Studies Committee (which Jordan chairs) felt comfortable enough to send “emails to conservative groups urging them to push undecided Republicans to vote against Boehner’s plan.”
One of my key talking points during last year’s election was that it is not enough to simply maintain one’s voting record but have the courage of conviction to openly oppose even fellow party members who are clearly wrong on policy and legislative initiatives.
Admittedly, the two anonymous Republicans cited by the Dispatch raise a somewhat (at best) valid point regarding Jordan’s comfort in representing a district where he is able to rely on such an enormous voting base. In 2008 he won reelection with 65 percent of the vote and last year took home 72 percent of the 4th District vote (and that was in a three-way race!).
And, sure, based on that it is easy for Jordan to spurn many of the typical trappings of politics and rely on an adherence to principles. He’s highly unlikely to be without an elected seat of some kind under any circumstances other than his own choosing.
Then again, perhaps the ORP ought to stop and consider the reason he is so popular within his present district is because of his consistently conservative record.
But, we need to stop and consider what I believe is the most likely explanation for all this manufactured controversy. This has been pure subterfuge.
While it would appear easy for Ohio’s Republican establishment to single-out Jordan who is going to be tremendously popular no matter where he runs for office, the real agenda was to send the message to all other registered ORP members: “We have no qualms going after someone like Jordan – your seat us much less secure.”
On the odd chance, however remote, that the Republican Party here in the Buckeye State actually intends to target Jordan in that manner I would like to conclude with an open letter.
Representative Jordan, should the ORP manage to succeed in squeezing you out of your seat and spurn you in future election endeavors, I will make it my mission in life to make room for you in the Libertarian Party of Ohio.
While I disagree with your perspectives regarding use of legislation to control personal behavior and limit individuals’ choices in life (not to mention the fact $700 billion in defense spending clearly is unsustainable), you deserve recognition for consistently championing for generally smaller government.
If the ORP won’t have you anymore, I will see to it the LPO will.
You have my word on that.