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The Washington Independent

War of the Message, the Outcome Disastrous

I’ve been remiss in not linking Greg Sargent’s post about Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and his blunt plan for the House Republicans. We will lose on

Iram Martins
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Mar 09, 2009

I’ve been remiss in not linking Greg Sargent’s post about Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and his blunt plan for the House Republicans.

We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010. Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

McHenry has been one of the blunter Republicans ever since his 2004 election—he was the subject of a fine profile by Benjamin Wallace-Wells for his dedication to Tom DeLay’s leadership and the message war. His rough partisanship is one reason why, even though he’s only 33, Republicans like Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) have become more prominent, post-delay.

What about the substance of McHenry’s argument? It’s a nice theory but it’s really not working for Republicans. After a sharp downturn in 2008, approval of Congress is up, led by rising support levels from Democrats and independents. The earmark-a-day, scandal-a-week strategy isn’t bearing fruit.

Iram Martins | Personal trainer. Aspiring sommelier. Brunch critic who works part-time. When I'm not competing, you'll find me at dog beaches with my black lab or sipping drinks at the best bars in town. I like to fly a lot.

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