Before Obama's reelection, I bet few of us regulars here at Daily Kos, let alone the public at large, knew much about Rep. Tim Huelskamp, aside from having a wicked Scrabble hand for a last name. The freshman from Kansas, who won election to the House in 2010 in the heavily conservative KS-01 (succeeding now Senator Jerry Moran), was just one face in a sea of wingnuttery. But in the couple months since Obama's reelection, we're all well aware of Huelskamp, who is making quite a name for himself. And what's the best word to describe him? Asshole.
Crude? Yes, but I'm not the one who started it. Huelskamp is, of course, one of the four House Republicans who were kicked off their respective committees by the Drunk Weepy Oompa-Loompa (DWOL) for crossing him. But in the case of Huelskamp (along with fellow expulsees Justin Amash and David Schweikert), according to Politico, there was also this factor in their punishment:
But some of their colleagues say the trio got yanked by the leadership-driven Republican Steering Committee because they're jerks - or worse.Indeed, this seems to be something of a habit for Huelskamp. Back in 2003 when he was a member of the Kansas State Senate, Huelskamp was kicked off the state Ways and Means Committee for similar disorderly conduct. Far from being chastened by such an action, Huelskamp used it as campaign ad fodder for his House run in 2010, which won criticism from his fellow state Republicans that he was engaging in revisionist history. Some choice comments:
In an interview with POLITICO, one member of the Steering Committee called them "the most egregious a-holes" in the House Republican Conference.
The argument: This went beyond voting records. The members who were booted made life harder for other Republicans by taking whacks at them in public for supporting hte team, according to Republican sources familiar with the Steering Committee's decision.
Election of Sen. Sandy Praeger, a Lawrence Republican and vice president of the Senate, to the position of state insurance comissioner in November 2002 required selection of her replacement to the leadership post. Senate Republicans met and agreed to nominate Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, but when the issue came to the full Senate for a vote, Huelskamp went against his Republican brethren to nominate Sen. Stan Clark, R-Oakly. Vratil won the vote 30-9.More:
[State Senate President Steve] Morris said the Clark twist was the type of futile, obstructionist maneuver defining Huelskamp's approach to the legislative process.
"He had been doing those kinds of things for a long time," Morris said."
"He has no hesitation about embellishing or saying things that don't jive with reality," Morris said.And this from Huelskamp's own campaign spokesman:
Huelskamp campaign spokesman David Ray said there was no question Huelskamp worked to make the "establishment," defined by Ray as Morris and then-Senate President Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, as uncomfortable as necessary to score political points.So there was considerable advance warning to all that Huelskamp was going to be an asshole. Hell, he even bragged to RedState in 2009 about what a dick he had been (incuding his vocal opposition to Kansas's own Kathleen Sebelius as HHS secretary). And he certainly hasn't disappointed. Here are some recent examples:
"Tim was marching to his own beat," Ray said.
- Voting against the Sandy relief bill, saying it wasn't needed and remined him of the stimulus, opposing it on grounds it contained too much pork. This despite the fact that he's had no trouble bringing in federal aid for his district, incuding for his parents and brother.
- This heated exchange with Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe over Sandy Hook, where he accused the Obama administrion of "politicizing" the tragedy and using it to push a "political agenda," which incensed Scarborough:
Scarborough interrupted the Kansas congressman and said, "Let's talk about September 11th, congressman. Were there some changes made in this country because of the tragedy of September 11th? Was that just using a tragedy - 3,000 deaths - to try and make Americans safer? Do you dare come on my show and say I am using the slaughter of 20 little 6 and 7-year-old children; I'm using that for political purposes, Tim?"And later, after Huelskamp tried to drag Scarborough's children into the mix:
He added, "So we can't at least talk about guns without you questioning my intergrity and saying that I'm using the death of 20 children to try and make life for my children a little bit safer? We can't even talk about it without you coming on this show and insulting me personally?"Clearly not. (Watch the video at the link just to get an idea how heated the exchange gets. At some points you're thinking Huelskamp is lucky to be on a video feed, because Joe seems ready to punch him)
- Calling Planned Parenthood "racist" baby killers, complete with references to Bleeding Kansas and slavery.
- And of course, how could we forget perhaps his greatest claim to fame, his key role in the failed attempt to topple the Drunk Weepy Oompa-Loompa as Speaker, where he was caught by a Politico photographer looking over a list of potential votes against the DWOL on his iPad, proving he's an asshole and hopelessly incompetent. (None of the Republicans on the list voted against the DWOL, by the way and it's unclear if any of them even knew they were on the list. Huelskamp ended up voting for Rep. Jim Jordan.) This humiliating failure, however, didn't stop him from trying to fundraise off his vote and making this ridiculous claim:
"But voting against a sitting Speaker of the House was a great risk. They will punish me. They will attack my family."Hey, he knows from watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, those Oompa-Loompas don't fuck around.
Yep, it's been a banner last couple of months for the Kansas Kook. Anonymous no longer, if any teabagger is going to replace Joe Walsh and Allen West, he's made the strongest play (with the possible exception of Steve Stockman). And judging by his belligerence since losing his committees and failing to oust the DWOL, he's likely only to get worse. The best attitude toward him may be articulated by the Morning Joe panelists after his verbal duel with Scarborough:
After the interview wrapped up, the hosts and other guests on the show openly expressed their exasperation.Maybe that's a better word to describe Huelskamp then "asshole." Problem.
"There's the problem for the Republican party right there," host Mika Brzezinski tweeted.
"It was stunning," said Washington Post opinion columnist Eugene Robinson, a guest. "It was depressing. I didn't know whether to scream or weep. But there you see the problem."