Running less than a month after his former staff and roomie Michael Aaron Lay was indicted for voter fraud, it's obviously designed to address the fact that local Republicans don't like him. Since that embarrassing indictment, the McHenry folks have been very busy painting the investigation "political."
That's why the timing (and flattering nature) of the article is so suspicious. Everyone involved in the investigation from the original accusers to both investigating district attorneys are Republican, so their defense that it's political obviously needed more help. Cue Ms. Zagaroli to the rescue!
Not only is the piece long and full of flattering quotes from supporters. Zagaroli does not bother to quote either district attorney who both happen to be Republicans who donated to his campaign. She only quotes McHenry saying his political enemies are using this "ethical law student" and "good Christian" "in order to attack me."
Here's the quote she used to support her not-so-underlying theme:
"The bad blood is truly unbelievable," says Jeff Lominac of Conover, a Republican activist in Catawba County who helped out on McHenry's campaign and remains a fan. "Some of the established people in the county still run the party, and they don't like Patrick. The bottom line is they're still mad about 2004.
Lisa cleverly buys right into McHenry's favorite statistic about himself, that he's the youngest member of congress. This time it's the secondary reason for the internal political attacks that are victimizing his poor indicted former roomie and staffer.
"I think a lot of people take him the wrong way because he is young and he took something they wanted."
"Take him the wrong way." When he's advocating a military strike on Iran When he's ridiculing the speaker of the house for needing a larger plane to go a thousand more miles, when he's comes this close toblaming the democrats for the Foley's abuse of young men, it's hard to misinterpret him. I don't think anyone "takes" McHenry "the wrong way." Nice of Lisa to choose that quote, however. Don't you think someone should check her recent finances?
Here's more of that insipid and thinly veiled crapola of an argument:
McHenry thinks he understands why his antagonists are so mad.
"I didn't wait in line," he says of his decision to run for Congress before others thought he was ready. "There's sometimes this notion in politics that whoever's waiting the longest for a certain office deserves it. I've never abided by that concept. Democracy works."
And promoting their lame line of reasoning twice wasn't enough for Lisa. I think the Observer really needs to look into her checking account for a recent large deposit:
As the youngest of five children, Rep. Patrick McHenry learned that taking on his elders was the only path to getting what he wanted.
"I had to grab for my food against my older brothers and sisters," the Cherryville Republican says laughing. "It's a natural part of my personality and upbringing. Get in there and fight for what you believe in."
Here's their analysis of McHenry's character:
Dependably polite -- he opens doors, greets the U.S. Capitol police officers, hugs his waitress -- McHenry sports a traditional look on his not-many-inches- over-5-foot frame, blazers and cuffed pants, and wire-rimmed glasses framing a mostly gray head of hair that belies his youth.
"Dependably polite?" See any of the vids from television on YouTube and you tell me what you think of his manners. Zagaroli consistently chooses the most flattering aspects of anything McHenry has said or done:
He's a reliable Republican in most cases, but he notes that he's been willing to buck President Bush on two major issues -- the Central American Free Trade Agreement and versions of immigration reform he calls "amnesty with makeup."
Now in his second term, the conservative McHenry has proved unafraid of challenging the new Democratic leadership. He nips at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., he tries to outwit parliamentary proficient Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.,
McHenry got noticed for drawing attention to the taxpayer-financed airplane afforded to Pelosi as leader of the House. In a floor speech in February, he began, "Our speaker loves to fly, and it shows," and he went on to suggest that her jet of choice would contribute to the global warming problem she has so bemoaned.
"He was the one who was first able to say it in a way that had impact. ... It came across in a funny way," says Danielle Doane, director of House relations for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.
"Big Mac. He's got lots of spunk. He raises issues that need to be raised. He will defend his position enthusiastically, but with proper decorum and dignity."
REP. ROBIN HAYES, R-N.C., of Concord
Not every word of the article is flattering:
"To be a bomb-thrower, you have to be able to hit your target. He's not strategic. He has contributed to an impression in which people are often dismissive of him, almost at the outset."
REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-Mass.
But, for the most part, it's an embarrassment to the Charlotte Observer. It's a suspiciously timed, one-sided puff piece, a disservice to the citizens of the Tenth District.