The 2012 elections are barely behind us and there’s already another contest heating up… for House Republican Conference Chairman
The two announced candidates running for the House GOP’s #4 position are the Conference’s current Vice Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA). Yesterday, Erick issued an endorsement for Congressman Price. This isn’t surprising; they’re from the same state and may well be acquainted with each other. We all like to stick with what we know. (For purposes of full disclosure, Rodgers and I both hail from the great State of Washington; sadly, we are not personally acquainted.)
What is surprising to me, however, is Erick’s attempt to anoint Congressman Price as the only true conservative in the race and Rodgers as a member of the party’s “left” wing. For anyone who understands the political geography of the West, Rodgers is from the RED half of our state: Eastern Washington. The other half, west of the Cascades, is the part that earned us the nickname “The Soviet of Washington.”
In our corner of the country, Rodgers is a stand out, and we’re exceptionally proud of her as a bright and articulate rising star in the party.
While HAFA scores are one measure of conservative creds, they’re not the only measure, and looking solely at HAFA might give a distorted picture . Please consider:
American Conservative Union (Lifetime)
Family Research Council (FRC)
Concerned Women for America (CWA)
National Taxpayers Union (NTU)
U.S. Chamber (Lifetime)
You might be wondering how much these scores impact the ability to perform as the Conference Chairman and the answer is not all that much. The Conference Chairman is less a political fixer or policy wonk than PR specialist. Indeed, the Conference Chairman is chiefly responsible for coordinating the House GOP’s caucus-wide messaging operation.
Internally, that means developing the right message, and then connecting the right messengers with the right media. Externally, that means being the voice of the caucus as needed and ensuring the party’s message is breaking through the noise.
I think Rodgers is uniquely qualified, having served as the Romney-Ryan team’s House liaison, helping coordinate the campaign’s message with the GOP caucus. She was also one of the GOP’s most visible and vocal spokeswomen countering the Democrat’s absurd “war on women,” and hosted the the RNC in Tampa, but don’t take my word for it; see for yourself.
In sum, this isn’t a contest over who is the most conservative. This position is tasked with overseeing the execution of the House GOP message, and who can do that most effectively. I’d like to see Cathy McMorris Rodgers in that role. I believe she’s earned the opportunity on merit, after having served admirably for two terms as Vice Chairman. She’s smart, articulate, conservative, and as Bridget Johnson notes, eager and ready to deliver a new brand of ‘bold’ conservatism.