The PJ Tatler

Rep. Charlie Dent Calls Himself and Left-Leaning Republicans the 'Governing Wing'

A lot has been written and said about Rep. Charlie Dent’s heated exchange with his colleague Rep. Dave Brat (both Republicans) on Meet the Press Sunday. The two men were taking each other to task over who the new House speaker should be.

Dent made clear that he had no patience for someone like Brat: an actual principled conservative who wants to stop President Obama’s horrendous leftist policies. No, Dent is only interested in one thing: power. And if that means he and his Republican colleagues have to throw all their principles in the dustbin, so be it.

The one thing that struck me most about Dent’s irrational rant was his comment that he considers himself to be part of the “governing wing.”

Read that again: the “governing wing.” As my PJM colleague David Steinberg writes on Twitter, this one phrase proves that Dent should never govern anything:

What amazing arrogance. He’s part of the “governing wing” of the Republican Party, while principled conservatives are — apparently — just loons, fruitcakes, and clowns? Because we all know that conservatism isn’t actually meant to be implemented, right? Nope: real statesmen compromise their principles on every possible occasion and hold those with deeply held beliefs in contempt. Can I get an amen?

I’d love it if I was exaggerating or spinning Dent’s views, but I’m not. See, it isn’t exactly the first time that he has used the phrase. He must be fond of it.

Several times in the past, Dent has made clear that he considers himself to be a part of a “special” wing of the Republican Party; a wing that should “marginalize” those who dare hold on to their principles. Further, while attacking conservative Republicans, Dent’s “governing wing” is all too happy to do business with radical Democrats like Nancy Pelosi:

There is still a small group of 50 or so Republicans, known as the Tuesday Group, who consider themselves to be center-right. The group is co-chaired by Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Charlie Dent (R-PA). Dent said in a recent interview, “We’re the governing wing of the party and we want to make sure the leaders have an affirmative sense of governance.” If Dent or Kinzinger (or someone else — Michigan’s Fred Upton is another prominent) could lead even 30 of these center-right Republicans, they could join with Democrats to control 218 votes — enough to elect a speaker. From there, they could control key committee assignments.

He basically said the same thing two years ago — naturally, to government-funded NPR:

I believe, as a member of Congress, I have a fundamental obligation, an affirmative obligation to govern the country.

And the most basic fundamental responsibility I have is to make sure that we pass budgets and that the government is funded and functioning. And if we fail in that particular task, that, I think, just really unsettles the American public, creates greater uncertainty and certainly feeds the cynicism that many people feel towards our government.

In other words, Dent is one of those Republicans who believe that Obama should get anything and everything he asks for. He surrendered the power of the purse, thereby making his own party completely irrelevant. And he doesn’t even know it.

Or perhaps he does and he just doesn’t care. After all, he can feel mightily important because he’s part of the “governing wing.” And to him, that’s all that matters.

Rep. Dent symbolizes all that is wrong with the modern day Republican Party: it’s not that the GOP leadership doesn’t want to fight, it’s that they don’t want to fight against progressivism. But when they need to take on conservatives threatening their hold on “governing” power, they’re more ferocious than a mama bear whose cubs are in mortal danger.