By Robert Mann
News flash: Sen. David Vitter is not among the most popular members of the U.S. Senate. In fact, according to a new story in Politico,
Within the chummy confines of the U.S. Senate, Vitter has emerged as one of the most disliked members. The second-term senator’s effort to kill the federal health care contribution, worth several thousand dollars to lawmakers and their staffers, is a big part of it. But the two-year drive, his critics say, symbolizes an operating style that Vitter’s critics complain is consumed with public relations, even for an ambitious member of Congress: speeding in and out of meetings, railing about issues on the Senate floor but doing little to execute behind the scenes, firing off news releases left and right. In an institution in which the inside game is critical, Vitter doesn’t even pretend to bother with it.
Politico says “the most recent repudiation of Vitter . . . came a month ago in the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which he chairs. He tried to subpoena documents to investigate how members of Congress and their aides became eligible for health care under Obamacare’s D.C. exchange.
“Five Republicans — including presidential candidate Rand Paul — blocked the request, angering Vitter and prompting an unusual round of second-guessing from GOP committee members over their chairman’s agenda.”
The bottom line of the story, which won’t surprise anyone who has worked with or closely observed Vitter over the years, is that he is a self-righteous, self-serving political animal who has few allies and even fewer friends in the Senate.
Vitter, 54, a Rhodes scholar who earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard, is one of the more conservative members of the Senate GOP Conference. But his personal style — an unusual combination of brashness and standoffishness that dates to his time in the Louisiana statehouse two decades ago — has long annoyed many of his cohorts.
“He doesn’t really like to talk to members,” one GOP senator who asked not to be named said of Vitter, who also does not engage with reporters in the halls of the Capitol.
Read the entire story at this link.