Instructions From the Top

For some reason, a letter from the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation was characterized as having been received by NBC News, as if it were some sort of privileged communication. In fact, the thing was a press release and rather obviously designed to change the conversation about the Heritage Foundation from trying to defend the indefensible “study” of Hispanic intellectual insufficiency to food stamps, a real two-fer issue.

The Republican House Leadership
Left to right: Eric Cantor House Majority Leader, John Boehner the 61st Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy the Republican Majority Whip (DonkeyHotey CC)

Two-fer in the sense of being offensive on two fronts since the dollars doled out represent a subsidy to industrial agriculture, even as they serve to remind the indigent that, if they’re not compliant with the culture of obedience, they and their children may well starve.

Compliance can be gained via bribes or threats. Threats, even if they aren’t actually implemented, are still cheaper. Bribes have to be increased, if they are to continue to be effective. Fair compensation is out of the question since it means people aren’t coerced.

Heritage Action to House Leaders: Keep Focus on Scandals
May 16, 2013

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader
H-329, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor:

For the first time, the activities of the Obama administration are receiving a sustained public vetting. Americans’ outrage over Benghazi is amplified by the Internal Revenue Service’s intimidation of conservative grassroots organizations and a cascade of negative headlines. There is the real sense the Obama administration has been less than forthright with the American people, the press and lawmakers.

Recent events have rightly focused the nation’s attention squarely on the actions of the Obama administration. It is incumbent upon the House of Representatives to conduct oversight hearings on those actions, but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference.

To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference. Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another “circular firing squad” article.

Make no mistake, principled conservatives will still oppose bad policy if it comes to the floor. Rather than scheduling such legislation for consideration, we urge you to keep the attention focused squarely on the Obama administration. As the public’s trust in their government continues to erode, it is incumbent upon those of us who support a smaller, less intrusive government to lead.


Michael A. Needham
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Action for America


Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."