The GOP Whip's Lobbyist Helper Also Hates the Tea Party's "Racists" and "Hucksters"

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 7 2014 11:38 AM

The GOP Whip's Lobbyist Helper Also Hates the Tea Party's "Racists" and "Hucksters"

450884610-rep-steve-scalise-speaks-to-members-of-the-media-as
Listen up you huskers

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman had a fascinating scoop this week about how the new House GOP whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, had lobbyist John Feehery "sit in on" interviews for job candidates. Feehery, whose biography offers us a classic tale of Washington momentum—from Denny Hastert to lucrative lobbying and punditry—did not deny the report. "I've never advocated for or brought client issues before the office," he explained. And the story did not say that he did, only that "many of his clients have issues that can be affected by the House Republican leadership."

That might not be what irritates conservatives. Scalise, whose victory in the whip race was seen as a win for the party's right, is relying on one of the many establishment figures who loathes the Tea Party. In a January 2013 blog post, under the evocative title "The Tea Party Must Be Crushed," Feehery burst forth with conventional wisdom about how the populist movement was ruining things for Republicans.

It is time to get rid of the Tea Party. They are an embarrassment. Worse, they are collaborating with Democrats to bring down Republicans and make it easier for Democrats to win general elections. ... The Tea Party has been a fifth column within the Republican Party, blowing up bridges, sabotaging supply lines, creating false controversies, wasting valuable party resources, and generally making it easier for Senate Democrats and Barack Obama to stay in power.
Advertisement

Feehery went on, clarifying that he was angry with Tea Party groups that nominated loser candidates or challenged possible winners, and enriched themselves in the process. "When the Tea Party started, it was a national movement of good people who were worried about the future of the country," he wrote. "But today’s Tea Party has morphed into something far different. It has become a collection of wing-nuts, racists, hucksters, extremists, con-men and front-men, who collaborate with Hollywood and left-wing organizations to plot the demise of Republicans in good standing."

It wasn't a one-off blog post. Feehery has written lots of stuff like this; it's just that "GOP establishment figure criticizes Tea Party" is not such a unique story that people paid much attention. In one post he described the origins and figures of the GOP's civil war, branding Mark Levin a "dark, malevolent" figure of talk radio, and reporting that the Chamber of Commerce "has finally had enough of the Tea party non-sense." In another, he branded FreedomWorks a "giant scam."

Nothing unusual here. Lots of D.C. Republicans feel like Feehery. But few of them get to offer advice on whom the House GOP leadership should hire.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.