GOP Wants Staffers of Tea Party Winners to Stay Home | “We’ll Help You Fit In” says Establishment

GOP Leadership Already Seeking to Co-opt New Members

By Matt Lewis |

Conservative leader Morton Blackwell, for whom I previously worked, has a few rules for the public policy process that might be helpful for tea party conservatives who win election next week.

One of Blackwell’s rules is: “Personnel is policy.” Another: “Hire at least as many to the right of you as to the left of you.” It seems the GOP party bosses are hoping Republicans who get elected this Tuesday will ignore this advice.

According to RollCall:

In anticipation of major GOP gains in next week’s elections, House Republican leaders have put together a list of experienced Washington hands to help fill top staff positions for the surge of newly elected outsiders.

Of course, the cynic in me believes this is less an offer of help, and more an attempt to surround newly elected members with staff who will advise being good little soldiers and blindly following their leaders. (Of course, that kind of thinking ultimately led to the near destruction of the GOP brand, and also to the rise of the tea party).

More from RollCall:

“You want to be sure that the newbies, when they hit town, do not necessarily bring their campaign staff to run their Congressional offices, because in some cases they are totally ill-equipped,” one veteran Republican lobbyist said. “Winning an election is one thing, running a Congressional operation is another. A lot of these folks are really, really new to politics.”

That sounds reasonable. But, of course, it ultimately comes down to this:

A Republican aide confirmed leadership’s interest in having staff that works well with [Rep. John] Boehner to move the agenda forward.

To be sure, it is wise for new members of Congress to hire competent staffers. Having someone on staff who knows the game and can serve as a guide, of sorts, may not be a bad idea. This is different from having your staff infiltrated.

But the notion that newly elected conservatives should immediately oust their campaign staffs and replace them with Republican D.C. “staffer” types is a sure way to guarantee the a spread of “Potomac fever.”

Newly elected Republicans would do well to maintain their independence, and promptly ignore this advice.

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