Alex Parene at Salon profiles Rep. Ted Yoho (R), a new member of Congress from the Sunshine State who is cut from the Allen West/Ben Quayle mold.
Hooray for citizen-legislators who are also ill-informed ideologues! Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., has gotten a lot of press attention for being an inexperienced political “outsider” who beat a more well-known, better-funded incumbent in a primary last year, before winning election to the House in November. It is a cute story. He’s a large animal veterinarian. He ran a funny ad with pigs in it. He probably drove a truck around his district shaking hands and stuff. Great stuff, very inspiring. This is why he’s on cable TVall the time. A veterinarian, in Congress!
He is a bog-standard talk radio conservative, only instead of one of those with years of experience navigating the House of Representatives, like his predecessor, he is one who believes that he will shake things up by constantly repeating clichés about being an outsider.
But even if you don’t find Yoho’s politics reprehensible, there’s not much reason to get excited about this guy’s amazing rise from animal doctor to random member of Congress. If you yourself are a right-winger, your agenda is much more likely to be advanced by skilled parliamentarians like career politician Mitch McConnell than by a guy who can’t figure out how the committee assignment system works. John Boehner is your best hope, not your enemy. Yoho’s first act as a member of Congress was to cast a rebellious leadership vote for Eric Cantor, a true conservative, and one who voted for John Boehner.
Naturally, Yoho’s chief of staff also has no institutional expertise or relevant experience beyond an internship, because for some reason we have all agreed that what’s wrong with Congress is “too much expertise and experience.”
Yeah, because knowing how things work is such a hindrance to getting things done for the people who elected you to work for them.
Allen West of Florida and Ben Quayle of Arizona (and son of the former vice president) each lasted one term in Congress before getting tossed out for being too far out there. (Note: that also happens to Democrats, but not as often.) Mr. Yoho is from a very safe district, so he will probably be around long enough to entertain us with his antics before someone even more fringed comes along.