'They Don't Say Pete Sessions is Bright'

The new Republican era in Washington has only just gotten underway and already there's been a big screw-up: two GOP House members didn't show up for the swearing in ceremony, but went ahead and voted anyway. Guess what? You're not allowed to do that. Now, everything the House accomplished yesterday is in jeopardy. It will not shock veteran observers of Washington to learn that one of the offending members was Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas. Because, you see, Sessions is...well, there's just no way of putting this gently: Sessions is widely regarded as one of the dimmer bulbs on the Christmas tree. And this episode will only reinforce that view, a view expounded by the American Prospect in a piece last fall

   What they say about Pete Sessions is that he's a hard worker. It took him three tries to get into Congress, but get elected he did in 1996. Then it took him two attempts to win the chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee, but maybe that worked out all right; when he missed his chance in 2008, his party was shellacked at the polls. Now Sessions is NRCC chair, the House Republicans' top political operative at a time when his party is poised to take back dozens of seats and likely a majority in the House.
   "You think of a party committee chair as a lead tactician who knows where all the bodies are buried and where all the races are," a veteran political reporter observes. "That's not what you get from Sessions."
   It's true: They don't say Pete Sessions is bright.
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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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