Deputy GOP Whip: 'Real Conservatives Tend to be Traditionalists, Institutionalists'

A deputy House whip said that some lauding their conservatism as true conservatism have actually strayed from the real definition of conservatism.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a Boehner ally and former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Bloomberg Radio today that he’d “quibble a little bit” with the characterization of the House Freedom Caucus as the conservative wing “because I consider myself one of those.”


“Frankly, that’s all the Republican conference is full of. But some people are not — I think real conservatives tend to be traditionalists, institutionalists. They understand change is usually gradual and cumulative, and they work within a prevailing system,” Cole said.

“What we have right now are some folks that favor government shutdowns, favor playing fast and loose with things like the debt limit and risking default. And they’re risking paralysis. And frankly, those tactics never work and they put the American people at risk. So you work within the institutions that have served us well for 230-odd years. Usually over time, you get pretty decent results.”

Cole also noted of the budget deal working its way through Congress that “some of the people that will condemn this deal will be Republican presidential candidates.”

“But secretly, they’re all going to be thankful that it occurred because the last thing they need is a government shutdown in the middle of a presidential campaign next year,” he said. “So this is good all around.”

Of Paul Ryan’s expected win in tomorrow’s speaker of House election, Cole said “if anybody can get anything done, Paul has already demonstrated that he can broker deals with Democrats.”


“He worked with a democratic president that he had run against in 2012 to get his trade promotion authority. So while he is very conservative, I think both sides recognize he is able. He is bright. He is a person of integrity. And he can work with others,” he said.

“Now, our preferred situation obviously would be using 2016 to achieve what we can. And to set us up for hopefully a Republican president where we’re working with the same objectives at each end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”


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