Circular firing squads are commonplace on the right, with conservatives sometimes left to only wish that their side would go after the left with the same intensity in which they attack one another.
At the same time, there is a diversity of thought and a boldness to voice varying opinions on the right that’s simply not tolerated on the left, which can often lead to conflict, especially if accountability is a motivating factor.
In what may be a mix of all of the above, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, blasted the House Freedom Caucus last week as little more than a bunch of “grifters” and “performance artists.”
Speaking at an event hosted by the Texas Liberty Alliance PAC, the retired Navy SEAL criticized some Republican members of the congressional caucus for being disingenuous, saying they were caught up in using effective slogans to chase headlines and attention.
The Freedom Caucus was formed in 2015, with conservative Republicans having grown weary of the antics of then-Speaker John Boehner — a real snake in the grass who could turn a phrase with the best of them — and looked to push GOP leadership more to the right. The current chairman is U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. Other members include U.S. Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Wowie! Dan Crenshaw trashes ‘Freedom Caucus’ members Greene, Brooks, Gohmert, Gosar, Jordan, etc, as “performance artists” while defending Kinzinger. “We have grifters in our midst .. lie after lie after lie.” 🍿 pic.twitter.com/hoaGOcOx9s
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 7, 2021
“I’ve been in Congress for over three years now. There are two types of members of Congress: there is performance artists and there is legislators,” he explained. “Performance artists are the ones who get all of the attention, the ones you think are more conservative because they know how to say slogans real well. They know how to recite the lines that they know our voters want to hear.”
A common complaint from conservatives is that the Republican Party is all talk, no action, and Crenshaw was tapping into that vein with his observation.
“Let me tell you guys something, the first two years of Trump’s presidency Republicans were in control, when every single time we were voting on Donald Trump’s agenda, who do you thing is at the top of that list and who do you think was at the bottom, ” the Afghanistan War vet continued. “A lot of names that you would recognize are at the bottom of that list. A lot of names you would recognize is at the top of that list.”
After warning the audience that he was probably going to make them cringe, Crenshaw named U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a notorious Trump-hater, saying the lawmaker was number two at the list, voting with the former president “almost 99 percent.”
He then set his sights on the Freedom Caucus.
“Who’s at the bottom? Everybody in the Freedom Caucus. All of them,” Crenshaw noted. “What you hear so often is not true. It’s not true. We have grifters in our midst — not here, not like in this room, I mean in the conservative movement. Lie after lie after lie, because they know something psychologically about the conservative heart. We’re worried about what people are going to do to us, what they are going to infringe upon us, that’s the nature of conservatism!”
Crenshaw was dragged online by many on the right who may not have taken a deep dive into his actual message. It certainly didn’t help his cause that some on the left were quick to seize on the opportunity to drive a wedge and spew hatred at conservatives by agreeing on the surface with the lawmaker’s assessment.
There were also those suggesting that Crenshaw was a hypocrite to slam others for being “performance artists,” pointing to a previous political ad he had taken part in:
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 7, 2021
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