Most observers identify the Freedom Caucus, formerly known as the Tea Party Caucus, as the source of a palace coup resulting in the “retirement” of John Boehner, and the refusal of his hand-picked successor, Kevin McCarthy, to take possession of the gavel as speaker of the House.
The simple fact is that Boehner and McCarthy knew this reactionary faction of the GOP was gunning for them. Boehner simply quit before he could be fired; McCarthy quit while he was ahead.
The two leaders were targeted because they were willing to cut deals with Democrats. This is a problem for all of us because compromise is key if democracy is to function as it should. As political theorists Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson suggest, compromise is necessary to govern – to help citizens realize the benefits they seek and protect their rights. In short, compromise is essential to the health of democracy.
Yet, since the GOP regained the House, and the Tea Party faction took over the party four years ago, House Republicans have refused to compromise at every turn.