The last time men’s style manual GQ decided to put Washington, D.C., under the microscope, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was just beginning to come into his own, sliding into the middle of their 50 Most Powerful list at No. 23.
Fast-forward to today: Cantor’s at the top of the heap, rocketing to No. 1 in two short years based primarily, according to the magazine, on his ability to STOP things from happening.
“He imposed his will on all of Washington, refashioning the city into a hyperpartisan capital of gridlock,” GQ asserts in its recap of Cantor’s accomplishments. To wit, the magazine tagged each recipient in this year’s D.C. Power List with corresponding icons, crowning Cantor with “Authority” and “Obstruction” in lieu of other more flattering attributes (“Intellect,” “Wise Man,” “Cool Points” and “Celebrity” also were on the table).
Cantor is not alone in being feted for partisan foot-dragging. Other GOP leaders called out by GQ for not playing nicely:
No. 2) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): He also scored a “Wise Man” mention.
No. 8) House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): got a nod for “Cool Points.”
No. 12) Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): “His crying fits, combined with his love of good red wine, feed all sorts of scurrilous talk in D.C. But as long as Boehner’s the Speaker, he matters.” This strikes us as almost obit-like.
The lawmakers rounding out the list include:
No. 17) Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): “Media whore, Wall Street shill, shameless self-promoter … well positioned to become the Senate Democrats’ leader whenever Harry Reid packs it in.”
No. 21) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.): “The wonky Wisconsin Congressman is the brain of the GOP.”
No. 24) Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.): “The Dems’ version of Cantor: youngish, smart, and very ambitious. Except Van Hollen actually gets along with his party’s House leader.”
No. 26) Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.): “Republicans have swallowed their anger and now try to stay on DeMint’s good side, if only because they don’t want him sending his irate band of Tea Partiers after them.”
No. 29) Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) : “Other House freshmen, like Allen West and Sean Duffy, might get more ink and airtime, but Scott’s the only one who’s already being called a kingmaker.”
No. 37) Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.): “There’s still that buzz that she’s not a heavyweight,” says one senior Democratic Senate aide. “She’s thrived by being underestimated.”
And this most succinct but still frighteningly astute write-up:
No. 43) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “Cuban-American. Handsome. Married to former Dolphins cheerleader. 2012, VP. 2016, The World.”
Can’t wait to see how the list shapes up after the next election.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.