Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

For some, conservative Nunes isn’t conservative enough on shutdown

For more than a decade, Rep. Devin Nunes has been about as reliably Republican as they come.

Never one to shy away from controversy or to speak his mind, the Tulare Republican has openly touted a conservative political agenda.

Rep. Devin Nunes

He’s called opponents of a new reservoir above Lake Millerton “radical environmentalists.”

He’s clashed with congressional Democrats and spent a good amount of campaign cash waging a political war against Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In his book titled “Restoring the Republic,” Nunes said environmental lobbyists were “followers of neo-Marxist, socialist, Maoist or Communist ideals.” Global warming claims were called “hysteria” spread by a “Doomsday cult.”

This week, however, the seemingly impossible happened: Nunes has been attacked by some Republicans — especially Tea Party Republicans — for not being far enough to the political right.

He’s since been called a sellout, a capitulator and, a favorite of Republicans who feel some politician isn’t holding up the party’s principles, a RINO — or “Republican In Name Only.”

It all came after Nunes referred to his hard-line Republican House colleagues as “lemmings with suicide vests” for letting the government shut down over opposition to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

For the record, Nunes opposes the law. But he thinks shutting down the government over it is a losing strategy for his party, and one that could hurt it politically in the long run.

“All I’m doing is stating the obvious, that we don’t have the votes.” Nunes said in an interview. “I’m now a RINO because I can count.”

In other words, the Senate isn’t supportive of the House’s strategy to shut down the government over Obamacare, and even if it was supportive, there aren’t the votes there to override a veto by President Barack Obama.

Nunes been attacked by fellow Republicans in the media, in calls to his office and even on his Facebook page. People are threatening that he’ll get a political challenger from his own right next year.

Michael Der Manouel Jr., a Fresno businessman and conservative Republican, doesn’t question Nunes’ conservative credentials, and certainly doesn’t consider him a Republican In Name Only.

But, he does say that Nunes “needs to choose his words more carefully when he’s not happy with whatever (Republican) strategy is going on.”

And he sounds like some of Nunes’ Facebook critics when he says Nunes should “stop worrying about tactics and start worrying about your country.” It is, Der Manouel says, a political face-off against rival Democrats, and so Nunes must stand firm for as long as necessary.

But Nunes is equally adamant that it is a losing strategy for his party, in which shutdown supporters have no end game or alternative solution.

“This is bad for those of us trying to work on reforms,” he said.

David Schecter, a Fresno State political science professor, thinks that Nunes is able to speak his mind because he is politically safe — not only from Democrats, but from ultra-conservative Republicans as well.

His district is solidly Republican, and Nunes has the fundraising prowess and a campaign war chest to ward off anyone who might attack from the right next year, Schecter said.

“He’s basically as protected as they get,” Schecter said.


diana nickell says:

I am so concerned that the bigger issue seems to be ignored, which is about the constitutionality of the govt taking over private sector companies, and mandating enrollment or fines. I am a passionate grandma who has been with and without, and understand that the health care system we have is far from perfect, but I do not believe after, reading, checking with others who have been notified of real $ costs associated, with this “help” and I am talking the poor, that this is a good thing.

John Barr says:

I am within the border’s of Congressman Nunes’s district & Mr. Nunes has a 68% voting record as a conservative Republican the other 32% he votes With RINO’s or outright with Democrats.

I have great respect for Congressman Nunes, however in the case sited Congressman Nunes is Dead Wrong! By voting For PPACA – Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010 [shorted by ??? to Affordable Care Act aka. Obamacare] & by voting For A Clean CR – as Majority Senate Leader Reid has said which Congressman Nunes supports – Will Hurt the Republican Party & Hurt the Country as a Whole. Better than 80% of the American people Do Not want ‘Obamacare’ yet Our Federal Government still is determined to ‘Make Obamacare Work’ even when the facts clearly show Obamacare Will Not Work & for Congressman Nunes to continue in his belief that the TEA Party & Republican Stratigy is to Blame for the current ‘Government Shut-Down’ is – well to be honest & truthful – Delusinonal & Almost beyond belief.

The Federal Government ‘Shut-Down’ is a Democratic Senate & Democratic President made shutdown as neither of these two parties are willing to meet with Republican Leaders – as both parties [Prez. & Reid] have said on numerious times “I Will Not ….” Only the President has the power to ‘Close National Parks & Memorials’- which Obama Has Done …. & for Congressman Nunes to wanting to contuiny working for/with such a ‘cast-of-charters’ makes many question Mr. Nunes’s ‘Oath of Office”.

Carla Evans says:

Very well put!

melindberg says:

We’ve come too far to give up now. I voted for him last time, but I may not next. Saddens me.

Kenny says:

Agreed. If he votes to open the government I will do everything I can to end his career. I voted for him in every election but my vote depends on his vote on the shut down. Sad :(

Merrill Franco says:

Rep. Nunes is correct that continuing the government shutdown should be curtailed because it could hurt the Republican Party and it is apt to fail. More importantly, it should be shut down because it injures the American people and, should it succeed, could hurt our democratic form of government going forward. The Constitution sets forth our system of Government. It should not be replaced by a new system of hostage-taking and extortion just because one of the parties finds itself with insufficient power to get its way.

KIm Short says:

He may have a war chest, but incumbants have been surprised by the Tea Party’s grass root ability!
I agree with DerManuel Nunes needs to choose his words better!

Keith D. Hickman USN/SS/RET. says:



I have great respect for Congressman Nunes. I would love to say, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”! For whatever the reason we are here where we are, we need to stick to our guns and push through legislation to get the country moving again. Do not give up our beliefs even though people are blaming us for shutting down the government. It takes two to tango so the president needs to learn some negotiating skills and improve his listening skills so he hears what we are saying and not what he thinks we are saying. We can not go on spending money we do not have. Make necessary cuts and force those getting entitlements to work for them versus continuing the great giveaways that this government does to get votes. Keep the government shut down as long as is necessary to resolve our financial issues. Deportation of all illegals would be a nice start and cutting entitlements for business, personal, government is a necessary step to balancing the budget and not having to raise the debt ceiling year after year after year.

Neil Stockton says:

Major Disapointment in your stand……..You repesent the people…….Stand strong and support what we want. Shut the Government down and keep it that way until we get at minimum a one year extention. My insurance has gone from $250 per month to $750 per month with less coverage and it is getting worse

Bernadette Cardosa Sowards says:

I also have great respect for Congressman Nunes. However, I adamantly DISAGREE with his needed to constantly tell us that the republican “strategy” is a losing one. The democrats can count too, and so can I…the democrats don’t have the votes either! When do we take a stand, if not now? The “stand” is long, long, LONG overdue. It is NOT just about Obamacare. It’s about a federal government who’s spending is completely out of control and unsustainable. A new EXPENSIVE entitlement program is not how to fix our spending problem. Pardon the simple comparison, but that is like giving an alcoholic a drink and expecting him/her to get sober after drinking it. Now, THAT is a “losing” strategy! Its time to put a stop to the madness and begin making some tough decisions, whether you are republican or democrat. I invite any democrat to run their household or business finances the way that their politicians want to run the federal government’s budget and see how long they can escape the consequences. In my profession as a CPA, I can tell you that it won’t be long. It’s a waste of breath to discuss strategy anymore. It’s time to talk common sense!

Shawn says:

The shame of it is is that Nunes does not understand the Constitution, his role as a representative, or why the powers of the government are split up between the branches as they are. Our government was never intended to be a government of expediency and efficiency. That type of government is for dictators. Our government was intended to be one that protects the fragile values of vulnerable people against the overbearing concern for efficiency and efficacy. Stanely v. Illinois 442 U.S. 645, 653, 656-7
Obama and those who support him want an efficient government that favors procedure by presumption as opposed to individualized determination as procedure by presumption is cheaper and quicker. All the republican representatives would do well to go re-read, or read for the first time, what our government was intended to do, and not to do. This information can be found in the Federalist Papers. They are on-line and easy to access. One thing though, you have to think about what you are reading. Democrats might want to read it too, if they are capable of understanding anything outside the DNP mantra.

Christine Denning says:

First of all, disappointment and concern about Congressman Nunes’ conservatism did not start with the “lemmings” remark.
In the last two to three years, his voting record has been leaving the small government conservative behind. He can talk all he wants, but his votes are what counts. I understand what goes on in Washington when a Representative has been there a long time. All they hear is Washington talk, Washington perspective and liberal media pressure. The Congressman is also being considered for a powerful post for which he will have to tow the line to be named to it. Ambition sometimes takes precedence over thoughtful and principled votes. It’s time either to reevaluate his true beliefs or leave and let a fresh face take over.

Terry Nardiello says:

The AFA is the law of the land, upheld by the conservative Supreme Court, and supported in the last general election by the 5,000,000 majority popular vote for the President and his policies.Get on with your job, pass the budget and get over it.

John Gist says:

The AFA can also be repealed as the law of the land. Remember that it was passed by a lame-duck session of Congress by Dems that were already voted out of office. They used back room chicanery to avoid Senate rules and conference requirements, all because they had putative control. That is an illegitimate start to such a far-reaching law. Dems still cry about Bush stealing an election, when the courts fully supported his win. Now, the same Dems want to use the courts to support their cause. Sigh…sheer hypocrisy. BTW – The Supreme Court is not Conservative! Hasn’t been since the 60s.

Charlie Moran says:

If the AFA is the law of the land, Terry, then tell Mr. Obama. Thus far he is the only one who has blatantly refused to enforce it. Thus, I am sure your comments are somehow actually directed at the president. And you conveniently forget that the Republicans in the house were likewise elected by a popular majority, and acting out of an avalanche of popular criticism and a growing list of tragic personal stories about a law of the land that desperately needs improvement and could easily be changed, but for the vanity of His Arrogancy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *