The GOP Committee Purge and the "Asshole Factor"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 13 2012 1:35 PM

The GOP Committee Purge and the "Asshole Factor"

People take their whacks at Politico for basing dishy stories on anonymous quotes. Praise be unto Jonathan Allen, whose dishy story about the "purge" of House conservatives from powerful committees is based on the quote of the day/week. It's one of two stories with this quote.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

In a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Study Committee on Wednesday, Amash and Huelskamp argued that they had been unfairly targeted for their conservative voting records, complaining that the leadership used a “secret scorecard” to rate their loyalty.
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Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative who is close to party leaders, told them that the “asshole 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 asshole factor.”

A little bit of background is probably useful here. Last Monday, Amash and Huelskamp learned that the House steering committee had kicked them off of the powerful Budget committee. Both of them had voted against the 2013 versions of the Ryan budget, which was embarrassing, but both had generally given the leadership votes when they needed them. According to my sources and some other folks' reporting, the steering committee used lists of the Amash/Huelskamp voting records to make their decisions. The purged duo wants to know what votes, exactly, were on that -- which votes were considered important?

They have not been subtle about asking. The day after the "purge" they cooperated with a ton of reporters and gave public remarks at the Heritage Foundation. Amash has burned up Twitter with questions about the vote list. He's modeled his career after that of Rep. Ron Paul, but his tactic here is very un-Paul like -- he's shaming Republicans for denying him an influential role in policymaking, unsatisfied with working outside.

The leadership's response? Stay outside, asshole.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.