Sunday, October 08, 2006

Patrick McHenry's Unseemly, Short Career

McHenry dated Susan Ralston, disgraced Rove aide

Not surprisingly, the homework on Republican Representative Patrick McHenry (NC10) has already been done. Washington Monthly published an unflattering profile of the ambitious young congressman in its October 2005 issue. This well-written article, by Benjamin Wallace-Wells,explores McHenry's giddy ascent through the Republican ranks from his days as a College Republican. How did McHenry rise so quickly? It's easy. He has no shame and his district is overwhelmingly Republican so he doesn't need to worry about reelection.

From the article:

No political movement can survive on talking points alone. It requires an endless succession of faces, flesh and bone, elected officials willing to impose their smiling mugs in front of the camera even when the talking points are ridiculous. In the nine months since he came to Washington, McHenry has cultivated a role as a kind of fraternity pledge for the House leadership, willing to do the dirty work on behalf of crusades that the rest of his caucus will no longer touch. He was still pumping Social-Security privatization this summer, months after the GOP leadership had given up on the bill. He was still attacking Terri Schiavo's husband after other Republicans, with an eye toward opinion polls, clammed up. And in June, he was summoned by the cable networks to defend Karl Rove after it began to appear likely that the president's chief strategist had identified Valerie Plame as a CIA agent while talking to reporters.

McHenry is perhaps the most successful and precocious of the endless string of those guys, the youngish Republican representatives who show up on cable television to defend the indefensible. But McHenry has also mastered, far more quickly than most, the inside game, the art of cultivating personal relationships with the powerful. Soon after moving to Congress, McHenry hired Grover Norquist's press secretary as his own. More recently, he's been dating Karl Rove's executive assistant.

We assume that would be Miss Susan Ralston, who resigned Friday after a House Government Reform panel report revealed that she received tickets to sporting and entertainment events from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, for whom she'd previously worked, in exchange for inside information about the White House.

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