I thought I’d briefly elaborate on this tweet of mine.
To be forthright, I am hardly the first to have this idea. As but one example, a quick Google search reveals that my friend Daniel Horowitz has already pushed for it over at Conservative Review.
But I’m going to push for it again here, because it happens to be a really, really good idea.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas’s 1st Congressional District is an absolutely rock-ribbed, stalwart conservative. First elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, Huelskamp has a 100% Club for Growth lifetime score and a 92% Heritage Action lifetime score. Perhaps most germanely, given the fact that his congressional district took the third-most federal farm subsidies dollars of any congressional district in the nation between the years 1995-2014, Huelskamp repeatedly demonstrated his impregnably principled fiscal conservative bona fides by repeatedly sounding the alarm against Congress’s farm bill boondoggles and the economically distorting subsidies invariably contained therein. Congress’s farm bills are absolute messes, and the omnibus Agricultural Act of 2014 authorized a whopping $956 billion over a ten-year period—including $756 billion in food stamps alone.
In August, GOP primary voters in Kansas’s 1st Congressional District decided to punish Huelskamp for his ardent commitment to fiscal conservatism by soundly ousting him in favor of pro-farm subsidy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed, big government-aligned milquetoast establishmentarian Roger Marshall. The Huelskamp loss was deeply unfortunate, and was yet another reminder—as if we needed it—that, amidst the backdrop of insurgent Trumpist populism, “[a]nger at Washington is not a mandate for ideological purity.”
Politico‘s “Playbook” had a note last week that Huelskamp is considering running for the soon-to-be-vacated seat of Congressman and future CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a fellow Kansan. Far be it from me to dissuade Huelskamp from pursuing that route. But it also happens to be the case that, amidst the context of a bevy of Trump Cabinet picks that range from the outstanding (Scott Pruitt, Gen. James Mattis, Pompeo, Gen. John Kelly) to the very good (Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos) to the befuddling (Ben Carson) to the potentially troubling (Gen. Mike Flynn) to the corporatist (Andrew Puzder, Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross) to the staggeringly senseless (Rex Tillerson, if reports today are to be believed), tapping to his Cabinet an unapologetic opponent of Beltway cronyism and central planning-imbued economic malarkey would go a long way for Trump in assuaging conservative doubts.
Here was Horowitz:
If Donald Trump wants to usher in a new era in Washington, drain the swamp of insider elites, limit the federal government, and become a hero to conservatives all in one bold, swift move, he should choose Rep. Tim Huelskamp as the next secretary of agriculture. Huelskamp was an outsider before it was cool to be anti-establishment, and he remained an outsider until the bitter end when he was defeated by Republican lobbyists for taking a principled stand on the role of the federal government in regulating and subsidizing the agriculture sector…
Huelskamp is a leader who could stand up to the lobbyists and inform the rent-seekers in government that a federal government big enough to provide every child in every state with [lousy] lunches and every farm with subsidies is a government big enough to regulate the puddles in the fields and the size of hen houses. If a department such as the USDA cannot be shrunk, then there is never any hope of limiting the reach and scope of the federal government. That is why Tim Huelskamp is needed to drain the swamp like a gallon of pure DEET on a swarm of mosquitoes.
Amen and amen. Trump has a very easy chance to do the right thing here. Let’s hope he takes advantage of the opportunity.