Posted: 9:00 am Saturday, June 14th, 2014

A Southern rift revealed by House leadership scramble 

By Jim Galloway

 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walks with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, after the final votes of the week at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday. House Republicans are jockeying for position after Cantor's stunning primary defeat to an underfunded and unknown political newcomer in the Virginia primary Tuesday. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walks with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, after the final votes of the week at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday. House Republicans are jockeying for position after Cantor’s stunning primary defeat to an underfunded and unknown political newcomer in the Virginia primary Tuesday. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Perhaps it is the humidity, or maybe the surplus of people eager to serve as undertakers, but bodies tend to be buried quickly up in Washington.

Republican members of the U.S. House on Thursday are scheduled to elect a new majority leader to replace Eric Cantor, the Virginia congressman who only five days ago was soundly defeated by a little-known college professor with a tea party resume.

The House election is somewhat fixed. With the early vote, an advantage has been given to Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, a member of Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team, whom Cantor has endorsed as his successor.

One Georgian, Tom Price of Roswell, and two Texans, Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling, have looked at the race and demurred.

The geography is an important point. The leadership scramble has revealed House Republicans split not just by ideology, but by region. They may provide the foundation for GOP rule, but by week’s end, Southern Republicans again could be largely shut out of the top positions of power in their own chamber.

We may be spoiled. Twenty years ago, during the reign of Speaker Newt Gingrich, the South ruled the House Republican roost. Specifically, the triumvirate of the Georgian and two Texans, Dick Armey and Tom Delay.

Republicans from other regions howled, especially when it came to guns and abortion.

“There was a lot of resentment at some of the bills we voted on more than once,” said John Linder, the former Georgia congressman who headed up the House GOP recruitment effort under Gingrich – another important leadership post. Linder retired in 2011, and now lives in Myrtle, Miss.

It was a brand of tension that no longer exists. “On the environment — all of our Republicans in the Northeast left us and sided with the Democrats. There was constant anger over that,” Linder remembered.

westmoreland

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County

But the Northeast is now a near-desert for Republicans. The South, still a growth region for the GOP during the Gingrich era, has been built out. Clout now lies in the hands of House Republicans who hail from areas where there are still seats to be won. Or lost.

Over the last week, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, has become the voice of Southern frustration in Washington. “This is something I’ve been kind of hammering on for a while,” he said Friday.

If you count Texas and Florida, Southern Republicans make up 47 percent of the House GOP conference, Westmoreland said. Even without those two states, Deep South Republicans would still represent nearly a third of the party’s strength in the House.

The percentages aren’t reflected in the chairmanships of House committees or subcommittees, Westmoreland said. “There’s no correlation.”

But that’s not where the deficit is most glaring. “If you look at that total leadership structure, you can see how many are from the South,” the Georgia congressman said.

Boehner, of course, is from Ohio, a swing state. Cantor’s Virginia now qualifies as a blue state. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairman of the House GOP conference, is from Washington, another blue state. Greg Walden, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, is from Oregon.

Not until you come to Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, secretary of the House GOP conference, do you find a Deep South conservative, Westmoreland pointed out.

“You hear people talk – ‘I may be from a blue state, but I still have a red district,’ the congressman scoffed. “Yeah, you probably still do have a red district. But if your red district was in my red state, it would probably be purple at best.”

Region, like ideology, matters when decisions are made about what House bills will move, and which ones won’t. “When they sit down at that leadership table, their thinking — about how this country feels or what its priorities are — is coming from a different mindset than what is in the Deep South. Which is mostly conservative people,” Westmoreland said.

The topics of unions, agriculture, and especially entitlements are dividers. Votes thought too conservative may provoke Democratic opposition in swing states, but votes that smack of compromise are likely to provoke primary opponents in the South.

Westmoreland beat his primary opposition in May. In 2012, he had two opponents.

Southern Republicans in the House may be gelling into something close to an organized faction.

“We have been meeting as Southern states for probably three or four months – meeting and discussing how we can interject some of our views into the conference better,” Westmoreland said. “We’re not really a caucus. We’re not a formal group. It’s just a bunch of guys and girls that are just sitting down and talking.”

A Southern shut-out this week is likely to be interpreted as a rejection of the message sent by Cantor’s defeat, Westmoreland said. “A lot of our guys are going to just say, ‘Are they just brain dead? Did they not read the smoke signal?’”

Southern Republicans are looking at the possibility that Steve Scalise, R-La., might be elected House majority whip, replacing McCarthy in the House’s No. 3 leadership spot.

Westmoreland has his doubts that Scalise can survive the Thursday vote. But a day after our conversation, the Georgia congressman’s staff killed Washington talk that he would run for the whip position himself, quoting their boss thusly:

“Currently my focus is on … the November midterms, and the efforts to create the largest Republican majority in decades. If there are future opportunities at the [National Republican Campaign Committee] or within the conference after November, I would like to be a part of that discussion.”

 

 

279 comments
StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

A southern shut out to me means that the do nothing congress is finally doing something.  The last thing this country needs is another congress full of obstructionist who will do absolutely nothing by shutting the country down again and blaming everyone but themselves.  This will go on until the next photo op, during the next election cycle, where there hopes are that voters are so misinformed and will hire them again, which will allow them to continue to live on public assistance on my dollars doing absolutely nothing, in a house which belongs to all the citizens of this country and not just southern republicans, who by the way do not represent the majority of the American people of this country as the GOP pundits and errounous polling people would like for us to believe.  Thank you 

DontTread
DontTread

“Yeah, you probably still do have a red district. But if your red district was in my red state, it would probably be purple at best.”


And this is the truth.  While some people from the Northeast and the Left Coast might have a (R) by their name, they are not conservatives.  True conservatives vote against anything that's unconstitutional, and these particular Republicans side with Democrats on a lot of unconstitutional bills.

notagain
notagain

Obama deports more,and lies less,simple as that.Tinkle Down,just has difficulty saying anything good about a mixed blood person.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

"The South, still a growth region for the GOP during the Gingrich era, has been built out."

That one staement is a pure lie and hilarious as Hades  The south continues to grow and gain House seats.  Heck, GA will keep adding them & will pick up another one with the 2020 census.  The wasteland Midwest and Northeast keeps losing them.

RussellCrawford
RussellCrawford

The problem for the pro life movement is that it makes the wrong choice. Pro lifers have a choice, they may choose to save one of the 1.8 born babies, children and adults that die each second or they can let them die and save a fetus instead. Pro lifers choose to let the babies die. A nation that kills its babies to save its fetuses cannot stand. Search Google for "Scientific Abortion Laws"

MHSmith
MHSmith

I can see "the politics of national destruction" continues on this blog.

And I'm telling that to everyone.


gotalife
gotalife

Lindsey Graham Urges Talks With Iran.

Again why do the gop want to help Iran and where the hell is Israel playing rw politics now?

HoppedUpOnClarity
HoppedUpOnClarity

(From the article)


The percentages aren’t reflected in the chairmanships of House committees or subcommittees, Westmoreland said. “There’s no correlation.” 



HMMMM...sounds like a DIVERSITY gripe to me, if I didn't know any better. The GOP abhors "diversity". They would never push for "affirmative action"...


...(for others).

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

Why do the easily emasculated conservative males look to Putin as the epitome of masculinity? hes bald, pot belly and has man boobs! Wow I just described the majority of gop males! lol.

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

20 BILLION dollars to train the Iraqi army and they ran faster than a black an driving through Mississippi in 1959! Now the repubs think we should listen to them in foreign policy matters? hahahahahohohohohihihihohohahahehehe...

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

Bush armed ISIS....Will we still be greeted as LIBERATORS?

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

ISIS wants to tank Bush for leaving millions of dollars of military equipment for them. Bushs utter incompetence means we wont have to suffer a republican president again.

honested
honested

@StraightNoChaser 

Nice gig if you can get it.

Prattle on about cutting taxes and starving the middle class while spending 60k a second just to cover the costs of talking about it.

RadicalRuralDem
RadicalRuralDem

@DontTread When you get to the point that you're labeling a majority of Republicans as not true Republicans or conservatives, that's probably a good sign that you're in the wrong party, should get the hell out and stop whining about how centuries of precedent is completely wrong and that you are the real deal. Lincoln and Reagan wouldn't be true conservatives by your litmus test. Neither would your awful last Republican president, who seems downright reasonable compared to the batch of crazy that's bloomed over the past few years.

Why don't you guys actually start your own third party, instead of latching onto the Republican Party like some sort of cancer? Oh, that's right: you guys aren't the majority, are nowhere near it, don't have any real power and you know it - otherwise, you'd do something about it. So keep crying about "true conservatism"; most Republicans will ignore you and so will we. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@DontTread 

While some people from the Northeast and the Left Coast might have a (R) by their name, they are not conservatives.

The No True Scotsman logical fallacy.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Oh yes the typical APS-educated liberal who gets their knowledge via CNN.  Even the liberal rag, The LA Times, shot this myth down.  Obama changed the formula used to count deportations that have been used by both dems & cons for the longest time.

RadicalRuralDem
RadicalRuralDem

@MiltonMan We won't pick up another seat in 2020; the growth forecasts will leave us far shy of that. We picked up two in 2000, and barely picked up one in 2010 because of rounding more than anything else, which means that we'd need to grow at the same rate as the nation plus close to the amount required for 1.5 House seats to get another in 2020. Not going to happen.

honested
honested

@MiltonMan 

Georgia might get another Congressional seat, but you might want to check the birthrate for wrong-wing, redneck, hillbilly racists,........not very hopeful for you guys.

It would be hard to draw any more 'safe' republican seats in modern Georgia.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@Kamchak Obama has deported more illegal aliens than George Bush.


Just sayin'

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

...while Obama rides around on a kiddie bike wearing a pink helmet.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@lithoniaguy

Gee, "lithoniaguy," you truly are an ape with a keyboard—aren't you!

MHSmith
MHSmith

@lithoniaguy Oh I'm sure at some point in time we will get around to electing another Republican President much to your dissatisfaction. Meanwhile we really haven't stopped properly thanking LBJ for leaving millions of dollars of military equipment for the Vietnamese. 

Oh, and just for fun, try to tell me and the rest, the is difference between the hate black people have for a white George W. Bush and the hate white people have for a black(white) Barrack H. Obama? 

As I said before, we will always have bigots and their bigotry. Only the mentally weakest elements of our society will succumb to it or rely upon it as a social crutch to prop up their own failings and protect their paranoia. 



MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Name calling = true sign of a juvenile mind.  Calling me a hillbilly is hilarious (not to mention clueess which is par for the course for you).   Did not realize that so many hillibillies live in Milton/Apharetta - a place that I have lived in for 20+ years.  Thanks for the heads-up.

honested
honested

@MHSmith @Kamchak 

Do you have a point?

Doesn't that mean that the President is Following The LAW as opposed to his war criminal predecessor?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@MHSmith 

 Obama has deported more illegal aliens than George Bush.

Yes I know, but then again, I'm not Tom Price.

Just sayin'.

td1234
td1234

@MHSmith @Kamchak Only because he changed the definition of "deportation" to now include turning people around at the border. 

honested
honested

@EdUktr 

Coming from a sad, pathetic, backward looking knuckle dragger deluded into the belief that 'tax cuts' are the only method to improve life in America.

I hope you read this before you retire back under your rock.

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

@EdUktr and you're typical white male conservative who is sexually insecure around black men. that's a big reason why you white male conservatives hate Obama so much. HES BIGGER THAN YOU  in every way. lol.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

And you're a racist unthinking jerk.

Mr. Smith seems to call out hate speech whichever side it's from - too bad you can't do that too.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

I drive by your trailer every day, Milton, on my way to my highly remunerative position in Alpharetta.

Yeah, you're a hillbilly.

honested
honested

@MiltonMan 

As long as you all stay there, that's fine.

It helps prevent further interference with reasonable governance.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@honested @MHSmith @Kamchak Yep and you obviously missed it big time. 


So I'm what, supposed to oppose Obama for doing what I often condemned Bush for not doing in the past?

 No I am not doing that at all, I'm actually applauding him for it and pointing out that Obama is not as bed wetting bleeding heart liberal as some folks want to make him into being. He has admittedly a selective sense of enforcing our laws at times but on the deportation law he's really not a wink n' nod guy.    

MHSmith
MHSmith

@td1234 @MHSmith @Kamchak I'll gladly give Obama full credit for doing what Bush would not do. So Bush at times was no less selective about enforcing the laws he didn't agree with, truth actually be told. 


Presidents' have their prerogatives...

just pointin' it out

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@lithoniaguy - Do all your posts deal with race buddy?

MHSmith
MHSmith

@lithoniaguy @MHSmith No black people didn't start the brither movement but some of them like Van Jones  did start a 911 truther movement against Bush, which is a carbon copy in falsehood, even though you will deny it. 

td1234
td1234

@lithoniaguy Was Bush's place of birth ever in question? 


Black people started a movement against Bush and drug use, did white people start the same movement about Obama? 

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

...says the clown from Cherokee.  Please tell us the name of the trailer park that you are so familiar with there chief.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Yep.  Too bad I cannot experience the wonderful governance enjoyed by those in DeKalb, Clayton, etc.

honested
honested

@MHSmith @lithoniaguy 

Are you accusing Van Jones of inappropriate behavior, or are you just following a wrong wing rant radio trend attempting to smear his name?

Inquiring minds want to know.

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

@td1234 @lithoniaguy

why are you conservative males so easily emasculated by strong blac men like Obama? Just a few weeks ago the gop was fawning over a shirtless Putin and his man boobs touting him as manly ...JEEZ WHAT A JOKE...

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

@td1234 @lithoniaguy 

What movement did blacks start against Bush? and only racist birthers like yourself questioned the black presidents birthplace. no whit president had racist birthers. it must gall racists  gop'ers like yourself  to be beaten by a black man twice.

honested
honested

@td1234 @lithoniaguy 

So you are starting the day with comments that don't even make sense?

I thought you didn't drink.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@lithoniaguy @td1234 And why are you and yours no less "emasculated" the same over white men like Bush?


If you scared rich powerful white men just say so. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@MHSmith 

 If you scared rich powerful white men just say so.  

First day of that brand new ESL class?

lithoniaguy
lithoniaguy

@td1234 @lithoniaguy

Yes and I also seen the 2 beat downs he gave u chicken hawk cons! BUT AT LEAST U HAVE POOTIN..i mean Putin...hehehehe

MHSmith
MHSmith

@Kamchak @MHSmith No, just keeping you on your toes with a little abbreviated street talk


Just learnin' are ya?