There’s been quite a bit of buzz about John Boehner “purging” 3 conservatives from their committee assignments last week. Many party activists are concerned that Speaker Boehner was eliminating those with a certain ideology. Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland has offered a different version of reality of why the steering committee composed of 30 Republicans which actually makes these assignments removed the three:
“I couldn’t help but kind of speak up for the steering committee and the leadership,” he told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview after the meeting.
“What I tried to explain to them was, it didn’t have anything to do with your voting record, a scorecard, your work across the street or anything else. It had to do with your ability to work within the system and to try to work. And to be, I guess, constructive in things. And I said, ‘I guess you could say it was an asshole factor,’” Westmoreland said. “Now I wasn’t calling any member in particular an asshole, I was just trying to describe an environment where some people that you’re trying to work with, they just don’t want to work within the system.”
Westmoreland later expressed regret for using that language, saying, “Maybe I should have used ‘obstinate factor’.”
Westmoreland went on to point out that if conservative voting records were the litmus test, he wouldn’t be on his committees either.
The moral to the story here is, it’s OK to be a Conservative in John Boehner’s House. It’s just not OK to be an a-hole about it.