Well, that was interesting. Earlier this week we learned that Rep. Mark Meadows was going to be removed from his position as chair of the Government Operations subcommittee. Meadows, a conservative Republican, represents the 11th District in Western North Carolina and has been a thorn in the side of John Boehner and the Republican leadership for some time now. He doesn’t vote like they want him to and he’s not a “team player.” The final straw came with a procedural vote on Obama’s trade legislation, which has enjoyed broad support from the Republican caucus. Meadows got the boot, joining fellow maverick NC congressman Walter Jones in the doghouse.

The subsequent outcry from the grassroots was deafening. Conservatives, more suspicious than ever about Boehner and co., were incensed and rallied around the congressman. The pressure was eventually too much for the leadership and they backed down. Meadows was reinstated. It’s a black eye for John Boehner, who looks weaker because of his inability to enforce his decision.

In the process, Meadows has become something of a hero to grassroots conservatives. Someone who defied the leadership, got knocked down, got back up – and won. NC conservatives, and conservatives across the nation, appreciate Meadows because they see him as someone willing to stand on principle, even if it makes the establishment unhappy. They appreciate him all the more because he won.

Some conservatives are so enthusiastic about Meadows that a movement has formed to draft the two-term congressman for United States Senate against Richard Burr. That’s not likely to happen. Meadows is a savvy politician and it wouldn’t be like him to embark on such a hopeless crusade. Instead, he’ll continue to serve as representative for the most Republican district in the state of North Carolina. And he’ll continue to anger the establishment up in DC, his identity as “Tar Heel Ted Cruz” secured.

Mark Meadows, for scoring a big win against John Boehner and the Republican establishment up in Washington and winning the admiration of grassroots conservatives across the nation, you’ve earned this week’s “Best Week in NC Politics” award. Congrats – really.

John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: johncwynne@gmail.com.

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