You can’t exactly paint this as the GOP establishment strikes back — but establishment GOPers must be smiling. And you can’t paint this as the total triumph and victory of the Tea Party, either, or a massive defeat. They’re holding up a big, bloody political scalp from primary day. The House GOP has replaced former its electorally-humiliated and resigned House Majority leader Eric Cantor with someone…who seems a bit like Eric Cantor. And another position isn’t filled by a tea guzzling barnburner, either:
House Republicans elevated California Rep. Kevin McCarthy to majority leader, and elected Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise whip Thursday in a rare mid-session leadership shakeup.
Their election — which was held by secret ballot — doesn’t represent seismic change atop the House Republican majority, but it does give the Deep South a spot at the leadership table after a two-year absence.
Scalise, who represents a district stretching from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, beat Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam and Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman in a competitive three-way race that started immediately after Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) lost his primary challenge June 10.
And apparently Scalise wasn’t considered pure enough for some:
Scalise, the chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, beat back questions about his right-wing bona fides, and he was able to garner the support of the majority of House Republicans on the first ballot — an impressive feat given the three candidates in the race.
McCarthy beat Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican who mounted a late campaign to challenge the Californian. McCarthy’s climb to majority leader is among the quickest ascents up the GOP leadership ladder in Republican history — he was first elected to the House in 2006.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), McCarthy, 49, and Scalise, 48, will stand before their colleagues for reelection for their leadership posts once again in November, after the 2014 midterm elections. As incumbents, they will be heavily favored. But the ascent of McCarthy and Scalise represents a defeat for the hard-right pocket of the GOP conference, which complained about both candidates’ commitment to conservative values.
For example, before the election, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy and Washington State Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington State, the No.4 GOP leader, are from the “liberal half of our conference.”
Cantor, sans political scalp, will leave office on July 31st and the new duo will then get into place.
Are Tea Partiers happy>? Key conservative figure Richard Viguerie is most assuredly not and has just issued this press release:
For Immediate Release: June 19, 2014
(Manassas, Virginia) Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and author of TAKEOVER, The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It, issued the following statement in response to the results of today’s House Republican Conference leadership elections:
“There was good news and bad news in this afternoon’s House Republican leadership elections,” said Mr. Viguerie. “The good news was that all of the candidates running for House Majority Leader and Majority Whip claimed to be conservatives. The bad news is that the two winning candidates (McCarthy and Scalise) are business-as-usual, go-along-to-get-along Washington insiders.”
“The gap between the leadership of the Republican Party and the base of the party continues to widen. Out-of-touch congressional Republicans decided to ignore the grassroots rebellion that brought them to power and their very leadership positions in 2010, then rose up and defeated one of their won, Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.”
“The absence of a principled conservative voice with limited-government, constitutional conservative ideas in the inner counsels of the House Republican leadership has resulted in a tone-deaf GOP leadership team that spends too much time attacking its conservatives and not enough fighting Obama and the Democrats,” said Viguerie.
“Today’s vote shows that Republicans have Electoral Learning Disability. In the modern era Republicans have won four landslide elections: 1980, 1984, the Contract with America congressional elections in 1994 and the Tea Party wave election congressional elections in 2010. And the GOP won by running against Washington’s tax and spend status quo and Big Government. In each of these elections insurgents – conservative outsiders – were the face of the Republican Party,” noted Viguerie.
“As I documented in my new book TAKEOVER, when Big Government establishment Republicans are the face of the Party, Republicans lose, most recently in 2006, 2008, and 2012,” said Mr. Viguerie.
“In addition to being seen as ‘Democrats-lite,’ establishment Republicans just plain aren’t very well liked by the grassroots of the GOP. They are viewed as weak and afraid to fight, afraid of the media, out of touch, elitist, and arrogant—and that’s by the grassroots of their own party. Imagine what the conservative independents, Reagan Democrats, and liberty-minded voters that Republicans need to attract to win national elections think?”
“Today’s elections could have broadened the House Republican leadership team to include at least one articulate, principled, limited-government, constitutional conservative. Instead, they perpetuated a leadership team that has become a closed elite who are among the leading apologists for Washington’s go-along-get-along culture and tools of a Washington – Wall Street – Silicon Valley Axis that in its advocacy of amnesty for illegal aliens and cronyism is almost completely divorced from the grassroots of the GOP and the everyday concerns of the conservative independents, Reagan Democrats and liberty-minded voters who will decide the next election.”
About Richard Viguerie: RICHARD A. VIGUERIE, called the “Funding Father of the conservative movement,” pioneered political direct mail and has been called “one of the creators of the modern conservative movement” (The Nation) and one of the “conservatives of the century” (Washington Times). His newest book is, TAKEOVER: the 100-year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives can Finally Win It.
Which suggests the drama isn’t over in the House GOP (or the Republican Party).
Cantor was always looking for ways to undermine Boehner and curry favor with the troglodytes. McCarthy has more of an easy-going reputation, although he’s obviously ambitious. He hasn’t always been a very competent whip, however, leading to several instances where bills had to be pulled off the floor for lack of support. That’s not a great sign for someone who will now be responsible for running the House floor.