Republican Study Committee Director Abruptly Fired in Likely "Establishment v. Grassroots" Feud

Paul Teller, executive director of the Republican Study Committee, "the caucus of House conservatives," was abruptly fired today. Why might you care? National Journal's Josh Kraushaar has the analysis:


The Republican Study Committee Chairman fired its longtime executive director, out of concern he was leaking confidential conversations to conservative groups hostile to Republican interests. They're at odds with each other over political strategy, with the Club for Growth keeping its powder dry, while the Senate Conservatives Fund is eagerly looking for opportunities to challenge sitting Republican senators who are ideologically unkosher.....

Politico on what happened and why:

a lawmaker present [at the meeting where his firing was announced] told POLITICO “Paul was divulging private, member level conversations and actively working against strategies developed by RSC members,” said the senior GOP aide familiar with the group...

If there were any staffer on Capitol Hill that were nearly as powerful as a member of Congress, it was Teller. He has been involved in conservative strategy for more than a decade, helping drag legislative debates to the right. But he often chafed on Republican leadership, who saw him as causing intra-party drama. 

That drama, as one person close to D.C. conservative activism tells me, was mostly on the side of conservative movement types vs. the political establishment of the Party per se.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This war will have casualties.

  • The Other Kevin||

    Yes, unfortunately we won't be happy about who survives.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    He was a counter-revolutionary tape worm giving aid and comfort to our enemies. Shooting him is a verdict of mercy.

    We are the party of freedom and we will not tolerate dissent.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I am sure this has something to do with the fact that RW groups took the wind out of Ryan's sails while the ink on the deal was still wet.

    This deal and this ouster are all about putting Ryan forward as the reasonable face of the GOP and shunting Cruz and company off to the side. Right, of course, at the moment that Cruz and Company were starting to pay off great dividends for the GOP.

  • Winston||

    The good(?) news will be that Ryan will only be considered the Reasonable Sane Republican once he is out of power.

  • eyeroller||

    The great battle: those who REALLY pretend they want to cut government vs. those who only halfheartedly pretend.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    The Republican party must be destroyed to save the Republican party.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "That drama, as one person close to D.C. conservative activism tells me, was mostly on the side of conservative movement types vs. the political establishment of the Party per se."

    When they say "conservative movement types", they mean "people who take budget cutting seriously"--do I have that right?

  • The Last American Hero||

    I took it to mean Socons vs. Unprincipled Go-Along-Get-Along RINOs - neither of which are fiscal conservatives.

  • TC@LeatherPenguin||

    Exactly right. Mark Levin has been raging for over an hour now about Teller getting fired.

  • juris imprudent||

    So you believe there are people in office that truly want to cut spending?

    Pass whatever it is you're smoking this way.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If there were any staffer on Capitol Hill that were nearly as powerful as a member of Congress, it was Teller."

    Teller wasn't in office.

    And when they're talking about "conservative movement types", they're not just talking about people in office, either.

    In addition to Tea Party types in office, they're also talking about Tea Party activists.

    If you don't think Tea Party and Tea Party activists are giving the establishment Republicans a hard time, you haven't been paying attention for the last couple of election cycles.

    The Tea Party people give John Boehner more trouble than the Democrats do, and John Boehner knows it. In fact, the spending enthusiasm of politicians like John Boehner is the reason why the Tea Party originally formed outside of the Republican party.

  • juris imprudent||

    Yeah - show me a Republican willing to cut defense spending. Real cuts - not the spend-less-than-the-last-plan.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The prospect of deep cuts in defense is troubling to many in the party, which has traditionally supported robust defense spending. But increasingly, that impulse is giving way to arguments from GOP lawmakers, many of them new to Congress, who say the most important goal is to rein in federal deficits.


    "Last summer, 89 House Republicans joined with liberal Democrats to approve an across-the-board $1.1 billion cut to the Department of Defense budget. In January, 157 Republicans voted to cut more than $10 billion from the Pentagon to offset the costs of a disaster-aid bill approved to help communities ravaged by superstorm Sandy."

  • Ken Shultz||

    “Fiscal questions trump defense in a way they never would have after 9/11,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “But the war in Iraq is over. Troops are coming home from Afghanistan, and we want to secure the cuts.”

    Representative Howard P. McKeon of California, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee and one of the lawmakers Democrats had hoped would never accept the military cuts, went almost as far. “Republicans aren’t cookie cutter,” he said, “but we do agree on the basic premise of where we’re trying to go. And if we don’t get our fiscal house in order, it’s very hard to provide for the defense of the nation.”

  • Byte Me||

    The GOP will inevitably continue to shoot themselves in the foot. I don't even sympathize with the voter base anymore. The good rhetoric that they run on (limited/small government) is just that, rhetoric, and everyone knows it. The only 'R' ticket I could support the next time around is Rand Paul/Justin Amash and it looks more like I'm experiencing wishful thinking every day. That is all.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Feud or no, if he was leaking private strategy conversations that's not cool. I sure as hell don't see how those leaks helped the idealistic conservatives or the Tea Party.

    And Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson, the main targets of the leaks, are hardly establishment figures. There's the hardline idealistic Tea Partiers like Paul and Cruz, the hardline establishment Angry Birds like McCain and Graham, and a bunch of people in the middle who want to shrink govt but aren't willing to charge an electoral machine gun nest to do it.

    For those who think that quixotic maneuvers with no hope of success will help the GOP win elections, Ken Cuccinelli says hi.

  • juris imprudent||

    ...a bunch of people in the middle who want to shrink govt but aren't willing to charge an electoral machine gun nest risk their reliable reelection to do it.


    I hate to agree with Tulpa but this being the lovely democratic system it is - this is the best compromise you are going to get between the House and Senate. If you don't like that than you either better rally up a whole lot more votes or start shooting a bunch of sitting politicians.


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