Current Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona has become the chief proponent of the burn-it-all-down philosophy. He and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have already lit into each other over the group’s tactics, which have frustrated many in the GOP caucus who would rather develop a line of attack against certain pieces of Democratic legislation rather than simply trashing everything. Even some members of the Freedom Caucus itself are starting to question the group’s sweeping and indiscriminate opposition.
“There’s some real concern among the Freedom Caucus that it lacks a long-term vision,” one senior GOP aide told Politico. “There doesn’t seem to be an organized legislative plan or agenda — only sporadic press conferences and news releases. It could be argued that this … has divided the caucus more than ever before.”
The group’s efforts have gotten so extreme that even some Freedom Caucus members are taking their grievances public, albeit anonymously. One caucus member said that although divisions were deepening, it’s “not enough to create some separatist movement or a coup d’etat against Andy Biggs.” You read that right: Things aren’t quite tense enough for the coup leader to get toppled by an internal coup … yet.
“We’ve got to get back to collegial operations here,” said the caucus member. “Some of the rhetoric needs to die down. I’m really ready for us to work together.” If that doesn’t happen, the Republican added, “I’ll probably share my opinion” with Freedom Caucus leaders. Yikes—looks like going to the press first before voicing their opinion behind closed doors was the lesser of two evils. Sounds like a lovely work environment.
In the meantime, Jordan is reportedly working the inside angle to move up the rungs of the GOP caucus. As Freedom Caucus members like Biggs and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia continue to lob successive grenades, Jordan adopted more of a team player posture in order to land a plum position as ranking GOP member on the Judiciary Committee. In return, Jordan is pledging not to oppose McCarthy’s bid for speaker should House Republicans regain the majority in 2022.
That’s worth its weight in gold to McCarthy, who saw his last bid get shot down by the Freedom Caucus before Paul Ryan stepped into the lead role. But claiming the speaker’s gavel and managing to contain the Freedom Caucus are two very separate issues—as Ryan quickly found out.