The GOP Can Do Better Than Elise Stefanik In Leadership

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Let’s offer a congratulations to the Republican Party:  they just made one of the most liberal members of their party in Congress one of the most important people in Congress.

The party decided to remove U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) as the chairman of the Republican House Conference because Cheney doesn’t think the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump — and likely also because she voted to impeach Trump in January following the Capitol Hill riots.

On Friday morning, House Republicans voted to replace her with U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-New York) rather than the other likely candidate, U.S. Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas).

Let’s ignore the Cheney and Trump stuff for now. We can’t change what happened there, whether or not you agree with the decision. However, putting Stefanik in a leadership position is a terrible move by the Republican Party. It puts the GOP further away from being a conservative party — and Trump deserves flak for supporting Stefanik over someone more conservative.

Stefanik represents an R+8 district, according to Cook PVI, meaning it’s generally a safe Republican district. For someone from such an area, she has a lousy voting record. The American Conservative Union, the organization that puts on the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, gives her a lifetime rating of 44 percent. That’s much lower than Cheney, who has a 78 percent rating. Meanwhile, the organization considers Roy to be more conservative than both of them; he has a 95 percent lifetime rating from them.

Club For Growth came out against Stefanik before the vote, nothing that she had their fourth-worst rating among House Republicans (35 percent). As an NBC News reporter pointed out, she has a lower lifetime rating from them than U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) (38 percent) — who isn’t to the right of too many people on anything.

If you love Trump and support everything he did as president, then Stefanik isn’t the person for the job, either. Although she was vocally pro-Trump during his first impeachment trial, she voted with him only 77.7 percent of the time when he was president. That’s lower than both Cheney (92.9 percent) and Roy (89.5 percent), as FiveThirtyEight points out.

Again, Trump is not the end-all-be-all of conservatism. But his support for her was based on the fact that she has said nice things about him — not based on substance.

On individual policies that conservative voters value, Stefanik hasn’t been a reliable vote.

She was one of two House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act in 2019 to make gender identity a protected class in the United States. If the bill passed, it would have, among other things, allowed biological males who identify as girls or women to play sports meant for females.

Stefanik voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. That’s a bill that doubled the maximum child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child for American families. A bigger child tax credit is a great, pro-family, pro-life policy — and she went against it. 

She also wanted the United States to stay in the Paris Climate Accord, even as other countries weren’t meeting their goals and the United States wasted around $1 billion on it. If it addressed polluters like China and India, then sure, let’s try to work together to lower emissions. However, they’re building new coal plants. This accord isn’t worth the carbon it took to make the paper it’s written on.

If you care about border security, then it may interest you to know that Stefanik opposed Trump’s declaring a national emergency in 2019 to secure funding for the United States.-Mexico border barrier. She has a career C- rating from the immigration-restrictionist NumbersUSA. Meanwhile, Roy has an A+ rating and Cheney has an A rating.

And while Roy wants to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, Stefanik and Cheney backed a bill in 2019 that would’ve required Trump to keep at least 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. 

All of these people have their flaws, but with more than 200 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the GOP could have done better than Stefanik. Ideally, the party would get someone in there who prioritizes restricting and reducing immigration, abortion, and deficit spending … as well as someone who wants to end the forever wars, implement pro-natal and pro-family policies, and lower the cost of living for the average American … and who isn’t afraid of social conservatism. 

Instead, they got Stefanik.

It’s not surprising. But let me know when the GOP seems serious about trying to make things better, and not worse.


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