I get that reporters are hungry for color and that members of Congress and their staffs sometimes err when they decide what to reveal. But it’s hard to imagine who was thinking what when House aides leaked to the Washington Post this eye-popping anecdote about a House GOP caucus meeting today in which leadership got their troops pumped up to support the Boehner debt bill with a scene from a gangster film where loyalty trumps morality and justifies brutal assault.
Check out how House Republican leaders are reportedly whipping support for John Boehner’s troubled debt limit bill.
From the Post …
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, “The Town”, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.
One character asks his friend: “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later.”
“Whose car are we gonna take,” the character says.
After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.
“I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the plan.
A couple things. First, that’s not the complete movie quote. Here’s the complete quote:
Doug MacRay: I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people.
James Coughlin: …Whose car we takin’?
Second, having rallied their troops with the clip of a scene of two guys agreeing to a revenge attack, the man who rises to the moment for GOP leaders is…Rep. Allen West.
It’s not clear if House Republicans fed an edited script to the Post, if the Post omitted the “hurt some people,” line themselves, or if GOP leadership actually edited the clip itself when it was screened. But I also can’t fathom why they find this scene particularly inspirational — and even if they do, why they decided to feed it to the press.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.