Bakosphere Blog

Saturday, Jun 21 2014 08:03 AM

The different sides of Kevin McCarthy

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    By Henry Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

    Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, in Washington, D.C. this week

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By BAKOSPHERE

Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy has garnered headlines around the country this past week in ascending to the powerful post of House majority leader. The Californian's Christine Bedell and Henry A. Barrios have been in Washington the last few days giving Californian readers sterling coverage.

To complement that coverage, we thought we'd highlight a few interesting McCarthy stories and excerpts we've stumbled across over the past week. Click on the headlines for the full stories, and feel free to share links to other stories in the comments.

* "Behind McCarthy's Rise in GOP House: a Personal Touch" from The Wall Street Journal:

"Mr. McCarthy's popularity wasn't sufficient for him to keep the fractured GOP conference together on some key votes as whip, leading to some embarrassing defeats on the floor when bills, including the high-profile farm bill, initially failed. And it could come under heavier strain as majority leader, when he will be tasked with a bigger role in determining the GOP agenda, rather than primarily executing it. But he would enter the post with a cushion of goodwill built up in the large conference room at the center of his office, over late-night dinners and over road trips to colleagues' districts.

"Mr. McCarthy has logged visits to 41 districts for peers and candidates so far in this election cycle, with a dozen more planned through the fall. He returns home to Bakersfield every weekend and sleeps in his office during the week. California lawmakers who shared a group house with him in Sacramento while in state office recalled him as the tidiest of the bunch, which included current GOP Reps. Jeff Denham and Doug LaMalfa."

* "Failing upward in the House leadership with Kevin McCarthy" by The Washington Post, June 17:

"If there were an award for failing upward in this town, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) would be a sure-fire winner. The House majority whip is poised to replace the primary-defeated Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as House majority leader on Thursday. Yet, in none of the glowing profiles of the leader-in-waiting have I read about his failure in his current job.

"All of the pieces I've read have focused on "McCarthy's strong personal relationships" with the Republican majority, on how he is "the likable majority whip who spent an inordinate amount of time getting to know almost every Republican lawmaker" and on how he has donated to their campaigns. But those stories neglect to point out that McCarthy could never deliver those loyal members when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) needed them most. 'If the speaker sets the legislative agenda and the majority leader lays out the game plan,' The Post's Ed O'Keefe writes today, 'it's the whip who ensures that legislation will pass." And time and time again, McCarthy failed.' "

* "Kevin McCarthy: Say what?" by Dana Milbank in The Washington Post, June 17:

"It happens once a week, almost like clockwork. 

"Kevin McCarthy, the man House Republicans are on course to tap this week as their next majority leader, steps to the microphones with other GOP leaders, opens his eyes wide and says something baffling.

"On justice being blind: "One of the most important I think that can happen today, Lynn Jenkins's bill, an idea of fairness, the idea that when you look across the street from the Capitol, you see the Supreme Court, you see the statue sitting there, blinded in the process with the weights in- between."

"On HealthCare.gov: "He only totes the 8 million. But the insurers are saying many of that is duplicate, that people inside the Web site that we all know did not -- wasn't successful. . . . How many have paid the premiums? How many will continue? How many are duplicates? How can we fall as we go forward?"

* "McCarthy: Washington via 'Muskogee' (Streets of Bakersfield)" by Bloomberg, June 19:

"Kevin McCarthy comes from California.

"Not that California.

"The rising Republican in the House of Representatives hails from Bakersfield, the farming center at the southern side of the Central Valley where the "Okies" who fled the Dust Bowl found refuge in the 1930s. It was the adopted home of the late Buck Owens and birthplace of Merle Haggard."

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