Rep. Raul Labrador’s office sent around a link Wednesday to a Time magazine article on the Freedom Caucus. That’s the group of three dozen or so hard-line House Republicans who comprise, depending on your point of view, either a noble band of savages fighting a principled fight for conservative values and government reform, or a crazed band of kamikazes with an outsized view of their own influence, willing to take the body politic repeatedly over a cliff for their beliefs.
Time’s 850-word piece leans toward the former interpretation, hence the “ICYMI” note from Labrador, a charter member of the group. A highlighted passage notes that the caucus – a secretive alliance, like the brawlers in “Fight Club” – seems to “attract representatives who are interested in winning the battle of ideas for conservatism.”
Here are some caucus demographics:
• Overwhelmingly male, geographically diverse, comprising both religious “values voters” and straight-up libertarians.
• 80 percent elected in or after the 2010 Tea Party sweep.
• Better educated at better schools, twice as likely to have Ph.D.s, and “roughly three times as likely to have a medical or dental degree as their GOP colleagues.” (Labrador is a lawyer.)
Writer Jeremy Carl, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, a right-leaning think tank (though it resists that label), concludes: “Their educational background means that Freedom Caucus members are almost invariably used to being in a small conservative minority surrounded by liberals. They are not afraid of being unpopular, or of holding views that are disapproved of by institutional leadership.” (You can see other of Carl’s writings here.)
Unfazed by criticism, willing to “fight the power,” but officially anonymous.