Rep. Stutzman Invokes Sept. 11 Attacks in Pitch for House Whip Job

In his bid to set himself apart from the field, Stutzman’s 9/11 reference strikes an odd note.

Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
Add to Briefcase
Sarah Mimms
June 16, 2014, 11:50 a.m.

Rep. Marlin Stutz­man has taken an in­ter­est­ing tac­tic in ur­ging his fel­low House Re­pub­lic­ans to elect him as ma­jor­ity whip: I’m run­ning be­cause of 9/11.

The In­di­ana Re­pub­lic­an, who launched a bid for the whip job late last week, cir­cu­lated a let­ter to his col­leagues Monday, pitch­ing for votes against Rep. Steve Scal­ise of Louisi­ana and cur­rent Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois.

Scal­ise, who chairs the con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, of which Stutz­man is a mem­ber, has the lead head­ing in­to Thursday’s likely con­test if early whip counts can be trus­ted. (And, giv­en that the elec­tion will be con­duc­ted via secret bal­lot when earli­er prom­ises can be ig­nored without re­per­cus­sion, they prob­ably can’t.) Even so, per­cep­tion mat­ters. And it puts Stutz­man and Roskam in the po­s­i­tion of try­ing to force a second bal­lot and hope to pick up the oth­ers’ sup­port­ers.

Both have writ­ten let­ters to col­leagues lay­ing out their po­s­i­tions in re­cent days to do just that. Stutz­man’s missive high­lights his ped­i­gree as an as­sist­ant whip in his state Le­gis­lature and as ad­viser to a strongly re­spec­ted con­ser­vat­ive voice: then-In­di­ana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Stutz­man goes on to lay out his plan to run a dif­fer­ent kind of Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence, one in which law­makers are giv­en “timely” no­tice of le­gis­la­tion and amend­ments, and giv­ing mem­bers more power to ad­dress loc­al is­sues in their dis­tricts through le­gis­la­tion.

The let­ter, which can be read in full in the Wash­ing­ton Ex­am­iner, is an im­pli­cit shot at House Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy, who is the front-run­ner in the race for ma­jor­ity lead­er, as well as Roskam.

Stutz­man’s let­ter also high­lights his his­tory as a “fourth-gen­er­a­tion farm­er,” com­par­ing the House Ma­jor­ity con­fer­ence to farm ma­chinery and high­light­ing the im­port­ance of “the minu­tia of the en­gine parts” — lower-tier mem­bers who entered the con­fer­ence dur­ing the tea party wave of 2010, like him­self.

The meta­phor helps to cast Stutz­man — who rep­res­ents North­east­ern In­di­ana — as a vi­able al­tern­at­ive to Scal­ise as a true red-state Re­pub­lic­an. The lan­guage ap­pears to be aimed at ap­peal­ing to mem­bers from con­ser­vat­ive states who feel that they are un­der­rep­res­en­ted in a lead­er­ship roster that rep­res­ents dis­tricts in Cali­for­nia, Ohio, and Wash­ing­ton state. Roskam, mean­while, has tried to gath­er up some of those mem­bers as well by vow­ing in his own let­ter to col­leagues that he will choose a South­ern­er as his own deputy.

The let­ter is clearly tar­geted and rep­res­ents one of Stutz­man’s few op­por­tun­it­ies to present his case to his col­leagues; the House left for the week­end just hours after he an­nounced his can­did­acy and won’t re­turn un­til Tues­day night.

But giv­en the clear cal­cu­la­tion of the let­ter in draw­ing con­trasts between Stutz­man and his op­pon­ents, his clos­ing re­marks are a little puzz­ling. “I’m run­ning be­cause on Septem­ber 11, 2001 I prom­ised my three-week-old son a bet­ter, more se­cure Amer­ica, and I see a way for­ward that will help me keep that prom­ise,” Stutz­man writes.

The lan­guage is strik­ingly sim­il­ar to the Re­pub­lic­an’s bio­graphy on his cam­paign web­site. It reads: “When the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanks­ville, Pennsylvania, be­came the front lines of Amer­ica’s war on ter­ror on Septem­ber 11, 2001, Marlin, as a new fath­er, held his three-week-old son in his arms, watch­ing the hor­rif­ic events un­fold. Like so many Amer­ic­ans struck by the un­cer­tainty and chal­lenges their chil­dren would face, Marlin and his wife Christy soon made the de­cision to be­come more in­volved in their com­munity.”

Clearly the mes­sage worked for voters. Per­haps it will work again.

What We're Following See More »
Spicer Excludes NYT, CNN, BuzzFeed from Press Gaggle
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SANS PROOF
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
10 hours ago
UPDATE
EXECUTIVE ORDER
Trump: Agencies Should Recommend Regulations to Repeal
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS
NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING SOON
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
12 hours ago
UPDATE
“WE’RE CHANGING IT”
Trump Rails On Obamacare
13 hours ago
UPDATE

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login