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For House Majority Whip We Back Stutzman Over Scalise and Roskam

Reps. Stutzman, Scalise, and Roskam

The result of race for House Majority Whip may be the most important fallout from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat in the Virginia primary by limited government constitutional conservative Dave Brat.

We will get to why the race to be the next GOP Whip is so important after we take a look at the three announced candidates and why we think Marlin Stutzman of Indiana is the best of the three and most likely to advance limited government constitutional principles in the inner counsels of the House GOP.

The three candidates are Stutzman, Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, the current Chief Deputy Whip and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

To our way of thinking, Roskam has disqualified himself because he has been a key actor in the enforcement arm of the Boehner – Cantor – McCarthy betrayal of conservative principles that began almost as soon as Republicans were restored to the majority in the House by the Tea Party wave election of 2010.

Rep. Roskam is at 52% on the Heritage Action for America scorecard, exactly the same as Eric Cantor. We’ve searched the news and we can’t find one public statement where Roskam took on the senior members of the House leadership team or said he was working to move them to the right.

But Scalise is to our way of thinking even worse than Roskam.

As Chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), which was the largest organized group of House conservatives, you’d think that Scalise would have a strong record of advocating conservative principles and pushing the leadership to the right.

But the exact opposite is true – under Scalise’s leadership the RSC moved strongly in the direction of the Republican establishment’s lobbyist driven agenda with Scalise’s chief of staff Lynnel Ruckert, telling RSC aides that Scalise's personal agenda came first. Scalise also replaced the longtime conservative policy staff of the RSC with do-boys for his policy director, Brett Horton, whose previous job was at the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee under Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.  

We contrast the toothless and principle-free RSC under Steve Scalise to the RSC under previous chairmen, such as Mike Pence, Jeb Hensarling and Jim Jordan, who led the organization to fight such establishment Republican sellouts as TARP, the car company bailout and raising the debt ceiling without spending cuts.

Which brings us to our pick in the House Majority Whip election – Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana.

Stuzman is being backed by a broad cross section of House conservatives, including Scalise’s predecessor as RSC chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, whom many conservatives had hoped would throw his hat in the ring for a leadership position in the wake of Cantor’s defeat.  

Stutzman “has lots of support from the hard right and those who were elected since 2010,” Politico reported. “Reps. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Andy Harris of Maryland, Jackie Walorski of Indiana, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin and Thomas Reed of New York are all whipping up support for Stutzman according to reports from various media, including northern Indiana’s Elkhart Truth.

What the establishment media hasn’t really picked up on is that Stutzman has a long record of taking on the establishment GOP. He served in the Indiana legislature and with Tea Party backing he ran in the Indiana Republican Senate primary against now-Senator Dan Coats as the grassroots opponent to the anointed candidate of the stringpullers in Washington.

Stutzman did well statewide, but his underfunded campaign wasn’t enough to defeat Coats. However, when Rep. Mark Souder resigned in the wake of a sex scandal the grassroots Republican precinct committeemen of the district nominated Stutzman to replace him and he has won handily ever since.

Although touted as the frontrunner, Scalise is not getting much traction; too many conservatives feel he spent his time as RSC Chairman as a cheerleader for Boehner, rather than as a principled advocate for the conservative agenda. Marlin Stutzman is seen as more likely to stick to his principles and be a stronger voice for the Class of 2010 in the inner counsels of the leadership.

History tells us that, because the Whip recruits and manages a team of members, for the future of our movement and ideas it may very well be that the leadership position that has the most impact and is most important long term is House Majority Whip. 

When House Minority Whip Dick Cheney was appointed Secretary of Defense, Newt Gingrich was elected to take his place. Gingrich built his Whip team into a powerful support mechanism for conservative ideas that Bob Michael and the other establishment GOP leaders of the time who accepted the permanent minority status of the GOP would never have otherwise fought for. 

Gingrich also used his whip team to educate and raise the profile of his fellow conservatives. Ultimately, Gingrich was able to parlay Whip into the Contract with America and the Speakership. Imagine how history would be different if Gingrich's opponent (nice guy appropriator John Myers as we recall) had been elected Whip.

As the rise of Newt Gingrich and his cohorts showed, we don't have to have conservatives in all the leadership positions (although that would be nice) we have to have the RIGHT conservative in one position. 

Marlin Stutzman has an 84% score from Heritage Action for America, making him by far the most conservative candidate in the race for a leadership position. If you sift through the thousands of votes Congress has taken since Marlin Stutzman was elected in 2010 you can no doubt find one with which you disagree, but the contest for House Majority Whip is not between Stuzman, Scalise, Roskam and some hypothetical perfect conservative. It is between Scalise, Roskam and the only candidate with a record of standing for conservative principles when the chips are down – Marlin Stutzman.

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