This aerial photo shows destruction in the wake of superstorm Sandy on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Seaside Heights, N.J. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)AP

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

REGIONALISM'S REMAINDER

The House GOP is becoming more homogeneous, but the party still has a geographic split. In votes to defer the fiscal cliff and fund the Hurricane Sandy recovery, Republicans from blue states and competitive districts tacked left. Not many remain, thanks to gerrymandering and partisan self-sorting, but the GOP holds 12 of the 18 districts in Pennsylvania and half of the 12 in New Jersey. Most of New York's six GOP members represent competitive turf.

Of 24 Northeastern House Republicans, only one (New Jersey's Scott Garrett) voted with his party against the cliff agreement and one (Pennsylvania's Keith Rothfus) opposed the Sandy funds. Many complained loudly when Speaker John Boehner put off the Sandy aid bill last week. Brookings Institution fellow John Hudak calculated that 60 percent of House Republicans in districts that President Obama carried in 2008 voted for the fiscal deal. It goes to show there are still enough vulnerable members — more than the party's House majority of 17 — to cost Republicans control of the chamber.

Josh Kraushaar


ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE

Some of Washington's most talented people keep barely missing out with the Obama administration. A pair of them — two-time acting CIA chief Michael Morell and former Undersecretary of State Michele Flournoy — faced recent disappointment as their agencies' top jobs went to higher-profile candidates. Some big-name politicians, such as former Govs. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, were potential Cabinet members in 2008 and have been discussed this year, but they risk fading into obscurity if they don't score a position.

"There's an unavoidable element of good luck or bad luck about this," says former Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. (Perhaps the most frequent Democratic bridesmaid, he has been mentioned for Cabinet posts or the VP job every year since 1992.) Bayh says the most important quality is whatever a president needs at a given moment. He counsels patience: Sen. John Kerry was passed over as Al Gore's running mate in 2000, lost his own presidential bid in 2004, and then saw his dream job, secretary of State, go to Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. Finally, last month, President Obama nominated him for the post.

Rebecca Kaplan

MURMURS

 "Let's Normalize!" Members of John Boehner's staff had a not-so-novel idea last week to help boost public perception of their boss: On Twitter, they posted a catalog of pictures showing him performing everyday activities. In one, he's sitting in his Ohio garage, sharpening his lawn mower's blade. It's enough to recall the exploits of Selina Meyer, the fictional vice president of HBO's satirical romp Veep, whose aides vowed to make her more relatable to people in an episode called "Let's Normalize." But even focus-grouping yogurt flavors failed Meyer: What would it mean if she chose rum raisin over mint? Hopefully, Boehner will have better luck with the mower.

Don't Touch the Product Former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf revealed this week that he will retire in mid-2013 after nearly 18 years leading the American Gaming Association — and without ever placing a bet at one of the lobbying group's member casinos. It's not that Fahrenkopf never gambles. An avid golfer, he admits to playing for a little green now and then on the greens. But Fahrenkopf grew up in Reno, Nev., and he said that after seeing all the losers in the hotel casinos, "we know better than to throw our money away on that."

REGIONALISM'S REMAINDER

The House GOP is becoming more homogeneous, but the party still has a geographic split. In votes to defer the fiscal cliff and fund the Hurricane Sandy recovery, Republicans from blue states and competitive districts tacked left. Not many remain, thanks to gerrymandering and partisan self-sorting, but the GOP holds 12 of the 18 districts in Pennsylvania and half of the 12 in New Jersey. Most of New York's six GOP members represent competitive turf.

Of 24 Northeastern House Republicans, only one (New Jersey's Scott Garrett) voted with his party against the cliff agreement and one (Pennsylvania's Keith Rothfus) opposed the Sandy funds. Many complained loudly when Speaker John Boehner put off the Sandy aid bill last week. Brookings Institution fellow John Hudak calculated that 60 percent of House Republicans in districts that President Obama carried in 2008 voted for the fiscal deal. It goes to show there are still enough vulnerable members — more than the party's House majority of 17 — to cost Republicans control of the chamber.

Josh Kraushaar


ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE

Some of Washington's most talented people keep barely missing out with the Obama administration. A pair of them — two-time acting CIA chief Michael Morell and former Undersecretary of State Michele Flournoy — faced recent disappointment as their agencies' top jobs went to higher-profile candidates. Some big-name politicians, such as former Govs. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, were potential Cabinet members in 2008 and have been discussed this year, but they risk fading into obscurity if they don't score a position.

"There's an unavoidable element of good luck or bad luck about this," says former Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. (Perhaps the most frequent Democratic bridesmaid, he has been mentioned for Cabinet posts or the VP job every year since 1992.) Bayh says the most important quality is whatever a president needs at a given moment. He counsels patience: Sen. John Kerry was passed over as Al Gore's running mate in 2000, lost his own presidential bid in 2004, and then saw his dream job, secretary of State, go to Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. Finally, last month, President Obama nominated him for the post.

Rebecca Kaplan

MURMURS

 "Let's Normalize!" Members of John Boehner's staff had a not-so-novel idea last week to help boost public perception of their boss: On Twitter, they posted a catalog of pictures showing him performing everyday activities. In one, he's sitting in his Ohio garage, sharpening his lawn mower's blade. It's enough to recall the exploits of Selina Meyer, the fictional vice president of HBO's satirical romp Veep, whose aides vowed to make her more relatable to people in an episode called "Let's Normalize." But even focus-grouping yogurt flavors failed Meyer: What would it mean if she chose rum raisin over mint? Hopefully, Boehner will have better luck with the mower.

Don't Touch the Product Former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf revealed this week that he will retire in mid-2013 after nearly 18 years leading the American Gaming Association — and without ever placing a bet at one of the lobbying group's member casinos. It's not that Fahrenkopf never gambles. An avid golfer, he admits to playing for a little green now and then on the greens. But Fahrenkopf grew up in Reno, Nev., and he said that after seeing all the losers in the hotel casinos, "we know better than to throw our money away on that."

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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