The New York Times has an interesting profile of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy — the man who will someday probably gut Eric Cantor’s naked ambitions. For all the talk about a Boehner v. Cantor rivalry, reporters should keep their eyes on the Cantor v. McCarthy relationship.In any event, there is this interesting nugget about McCarthy rewarding House Republicans who toe the party line, even when it means selling out conservatives:
Even McCarthy’s light touch can send a signal of reproach or reward. Last month, the entire G.O.P. House conference traveled to the White House to meet with the president. After Obama’s remarks, McCarthy, Boehner and the other leaders each asked him a question. Then one question came from a pre selected freshman. It was Reid Ribble, a former roofing contractor from Wisconsin. McCarthy had heard Ribble tell a story over dinner about a seemingly absurd regulation forbidding laborers from drinking water out of a plastic bottle while up on a roof — necessitating that they make frequent trips up and down the ladder, where accidents most often occur. The whip loved it and pushed for Ribble to have the chance to address the president.There was, however, something else for the majority whip to love about Reid Ribble: he had never crossed the G.O.P. leadership on anything important. There was not a chance that leadership would award this moment to someone like Justin Amash, the only freshman to vote against all four of the continuing resolutions; or to Allen West, who in a press release expressed “disappointment in my own leadership” over a financing bill that appeared to be using U.S. troops as a political pawn; or to Raúl Labrador, who in a closed-door conference accused Boehner of “abandoning” conservatives. They and other dissidents are, of course, perfectly free to visit on their own with the president at the White House anytime they wish — if they can.
Reid Ribble — party first.By the way, for those of you who point out to me that Ribble is a House co-sponsor of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, you should note that Ribble has not taken the pledge or been involved in any of the substantive conversations about the legislation. Several sources point out to me that Ribble has been AWOL on everything except sponsorship, more likely than not at the behest of leadership.