Rep. Jim Jordan (R–OH) is a man who doesn’t like to lose. His high school wrestling record was an astonishing 150–1. That bodes well for the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of conservative lawmakers Jordan will lead in the 112th Congress.
Jordan joined the RSC’s outgoing chairman, Representative Tom Price (R–GA), at an American Enterprise Institute event, Conservatism in the 112th Congress, hosted by President Arthur Brooks this week.
Looking ahead to his chairmanship in January, Jordan said he recognizes that “when you are leading the conservative group,” you have to “pick the right fights.” Furthermore, “when they come along, you’ve got to be willing to fight. You’ve got to be willing to do what you told the voters you were going to do.”
Jordan said his high school wrestling coach taught him that “discipline is doing what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it.” He has since learned that, in fact, discipline “is doing things the right way when you want to do them the convenient way.”
Brooks, quoting the RSC mission statement, said the committee was “founded to serve as an ideological rallying point where like-minded conservatives can coordinate their activities and stand on the basis of principle; where a minority of committed men and women, without years of seniority or formal leadership positions, can affect change. They can do it on their first day in Congress.” Brooks pointed out that this statement “is inaccurate in one small way: they are not a minority.”
“Conservatism is alive and well,” noted Price, citing both the American people and the incoming members of the House of Representatives. There will be 167 Members and counting in the RSC for the 112th Congress. Even with staggering numbers of incoming conservative representatives, “the expectations game is really important in the next two years,” Price said. The work of the incoming Congress “will be reflected in policy post 2012.” Democrats, whom Jordan called “the party of government,” still control the Senate and the White House.
Price predicts that “this is going to be divided government with an individual in the White House who in his entire life has never had to compromise with anybody.”
But according to Jordan, “compromise was not what November 2 was about.” “I just don’t see how you can compromise with someone … who attacks the basic principles that this country was founded on.” Price said he believes that “fundamental, first principles of this great nation won on November 2.”
On November 3, Heritage President Ed Feulner proclaimed that “the American people have a collective wisdom, and they expressed it yesterday. They took a stand and decided on a new direction because continuing down the path we’re currently on would mean the end of the American Dream.”
While Jordan recognized that he “has never seen the American people more ready, more receptive, more in tune with what has to happen to put this country back on the right path,” it remains unclear if “the politicians are where the people are.” However, he does recognize that “there are a lot of Senators up for reelection in 2012, [and] maybe some of them found Jesus.”
Noelle Clemente is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm