October 21, 2013

Visual Evidence Way Back in 2010 of GOP Leadership Bringing Tea Partiers into the Fold

Mark Peterson mccarthy

Lest I leave you with the impression Mark Peterson has a one dimensional view of the Tea Party (his portraits of Cruz, Palin and Paul raising some hackles here last week), that was not his first documentation of the movement.

Roll back the clock 27 months to a slightly more ambiguous moment. It was July, 2011, after the Republicans took back the House with a tide of new Tea Party members. That July, the New York Times Magazine published a more-than-5000-word article on GOP House whip, Kevin McCarthy, and how the good-natured Congressman from Bakersfield had the chops to bring the renegades under control. If this paragraph alludes to the difficulty of controlling this faction, it’s certainly betting on the Whip — and a sense of  substance and reason:

In the end, there’s only so much control House leaders can exert over a congressman who answers to voters back home. Whips tend to recognize this and, at least in recent years, have relied more on cajoling than threats. McCarthy, who is 46, represents the affable extreme of this philosophy. In his sunny view, “A conference united around policies creates better legislation than using intimidation.”

In Mark Peterson’s photo that led that NY Mag article, we see (left to right, starting in the left foreground) Steve Womack, Sean Duffy, Michael Grimm, Nan Hayworth, Martha Roby and then, beaming in the light, McCarthy. Fast forward to now, can anyone say that McCarthy’s open door policy and cajoling talent has led to the mavericks climbing under his wing? (Well, certainly not Duffy, the Congressman, far left, who looks as loose and expressive as McCarthy. Duffy, who was a much less pious character when he starred in The Real World, recently attacked Ted Cruz on the shutdown for not going far enough.)

Looking at the figures in the photo and how they voted on the final shutdown bill that eliminated the threat and put the government back in business, that tally stands:

Steve Womack – NO
Sean Duffy – NO
Michael Grimm – NO
Nan Hayworth – (not re-elected in 2012)
Martha Roby – NO

Maybe his strategy to tame these activists has been to keep letting out rope. Even Kevin McCarthy voted “No.”

Correction 3pm PST (and more to the point): Poor Kevin voted “yes.”

(photo: Mark Peterson for The New York Times caption: The office of the House majority whip. From left: Steve Womack (foreground), Sean Duffy, Michael Grimm, Nan Hayworth, Martha Roby and Kevin McCarthy.)

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Michael Shaw
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