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Monday, June 16, 2014

 
The GOP leadership race shows how DC really works

by digby

I wrote about the Republican establishment response to Cantor's loss today over at Salon, focusing on the fact that Kevin McCarthy is going to be the new majority leader mostly because he can raise huge sums of money:

Any idea that the consequence of Cantor’s defeat would be a new leadership decided on the basis of ideology misunderstands what drives the choice of partisan leaders. Whenever a powerful member of the party leadership retires or goes down to defeat, the rest of the members lose a very important resource: money. And lots of it. The way these people ascend in partisan politics isn’t through their “beliefs” or any kind of ideological purity, it’s through their ability to raise money from big donors and industry and their strategic sense of how best to spread it around. Cantor may have been a jerk — everyone says so. But he was the majority leader because he had bought partisan loyalty over the years from being in bed with big money and judiciously spreading it around. The Tea Party might think Kevin McCarthy is a squish on immigration but everybody in the GOP caucus knows that their own futures rest on made men like him.

But it isn’t just money. It’s also organization. As Robert Costa reported last Friday, McCarthy had it in spades. Not that he built it himself, mind you. He inherited the chief of staff of the most ruthlessly effective House majority leader in GOP history.

That would be none other than Tom DeLay.

I also talk about how, by contrast, the Tea party caucus was completely unprepared for anything and basically just wandered around aimless for days trying to figure out their next steps.

But after I posted that at Salon, I came across this interesting quote from Bill Moyers that sheds even more light on the issue:
And then there are the lapdogs in Congress willfully collaborating with the financial industry. As the Center for Public Integrity put it recently, they are “Wall Street’s secret weapon,” a handful of representatives at the beck and call of the banks, eager to do their bidding. Jeb Hensarling is their head honcho. The Republican from Texas chairs the House Financial Services Committee, which functions for Wall Street like one of those no-tell motels with the neon sign. Hensarling makes no bones as to where his loyalties lie. “Occasionally we have been accused of trying to undermine aspects of Dodd-Frank,” he said recently, adding, with a chuckle, “I hope we’re guilty of it.” Guilty as charged, Congressman. And it tells us all we need to know about our bought and paid for government that you think it’s funny.

Why is that important? Hensarling was one of the hard core Tea Party "insurgents" the grassroots conservatives were hoping would challenge McCarthy. He declined.

You just have to laugh.

You can read my Salon piece here.

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