Do you remember those four staunch fiscal conservatives — Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Walter Jones (R-NC), and David Schweikert (R-AZ) — who were unceremoniously booted off from their committees assignments? Republican leadership insisted that they were removed based on some yet-to-be-seen “scorecard.” House Speaker John Boehner later denied that, telling the affected members that “there is no scorecard” and that Steering Committee, which ultimately made the decision, “reviews all appropriate information” before reaching a decision on committee assignments.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who serves as House Whip, was supposed to address the removal of these members from their committees during a House Republican Conference meeting on Wednesday. However, McCarthy has still yet to provide details to even his duly elected colleagues.
Yesterday, however, Politico reported comments from Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the Steering Committee, who explained that the reason these fiscal conservatives were removed was because of the “asshole factor”:
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative who is close to party leaders, told them that “the a—hole factor” came into play in the Steering decision.
“He said that it had nothing to do with their voting record, a scorecard, or their actions across the street [meaning fundraising],” Westmoreland spokeswoman Leslie Shedd told POLITICO. “It had to do with their inability to work with other members, which some people might refer to as the a—hole factor.”
Realizing his poor choice of words, Westmoreland, who is best remembered for forgetting the Ten Commandments during a segment on The Colbert Report despite his sponsoring of legislation to require its public display, later told Roll Call that he didn’t intend to slam or deride these four members, but rather offer as basic an explanation as possible for the decision reached by the Steering Committee:
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, a staunch conservative who sits on the Republican Steering Committee that made the decision to remove the lawmakers, said he became increasingly angry while listening to the discussion and ended up providing the most detailed defense yet for the decisions.
“I couldn’t help but kind of speak up for the steering committee and the leadership,” he told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview after the meeting.
“What I tried to explain to them was, it didn’t have anything to do with your voting record, a scorecard, your work across the street or anything else. It had to do with your ability to work within the system and to try to work. And to be, I guess, constructive in things. And I said, ‘I guess you could say it was an asshole factor,’” Westmoreland said. “Now I wasn’t calling any member in particular an asshole, I was just trying to describe an environment where some people that you’re trying to work with, they just don’t want to work within the system.”
Back in 2006, a couple of House Republicans lost their roles as Deputy Whips, which is part of the House Republican leadership. Why? As RedState noted at the time, because these two, along with 26 other Republicans, voted against a rule to allow for consideration of an emergency spending bill, which included hurricane relief fund. Because the spending wasn’t offset by cuts elsewhere, these fiscal conservatives made the right choice in voting for their principles.
So who were the two Republicans that lost their leadership positions because they put principle over politics? John Shadegg (R-AZ) and a freshman from Georgia by the name of Lynn Westmoreland.
After it all went down, Westmoreland, who had served in his role as a Deputy Whip for all of 17 hours, said, “I’m not a martyr. You do what you got to do.”
Unfortunately, Westmoreland has become the stereotypical conservative politician who goes to Congress with the best of intentions. He wants to cut spending and try to fix Washington. But rather than becoming the solution to the problem, Westmoreland has become part of it. He’s fallen in love with the smell of the marble in the halls of Congress, and just another part of this great disaster we know as the Republican establishment.
C/P: United Liberty
Jason Pye is editor of United Liberty.