What motivates House Republicans

The Washington Post reported late yesterday that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tried to rally support for the Boehner budget proposal by showing House Republicans a clip from a movie. It’s an interesting choice:

If you can’t watch clips online, it’s from the movie “The Town,” and it shows Ben Affleck’s character saying, “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later — and we’re going to hurt some people.” Jeremy Renner’s character responds, “Whose car are we going to take?”

This, apparently, was intended to help “forge a sense of unity” among House Republicans, and it had an effect. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a right-wing lawmaker who has relied on violent rhetoric on several occasions, told his colleagues, “I’m ready to drive the car.”

In context, that would be the car they take “to hurt some people.” The characters in the film were planning a mob beating — putting on masks and bludgeoning their target with sticks.

This is what Republicans find inspirational. Indeed, they’re even willing to leak this to the press.

Also note the contrast between Republicans’ motivational tools and Democrats’. Here was President Obama on Monday night:

“America … has always been a grand experiment in compromise. As a democracy made up of every race and religion, where every belief and point of view is welcomed, we have put to the test time and again the proposition at the heart of our founding: that out of many, we are one. We’ve engaged in fierce and passionate debates about the issues of the day, but from slavery to war, from civil liberties to questions of economic justice, we have tried to live by the words that Jefferson once wrote: ‘Every man cannot have his way in all things — without this mutual disposition, we are disjointed individuals, but not a society.’

“History is scattered with the stories of those who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. But those are not the Americans we remember. We remember the Americans who put country above self, and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. We remember the Americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours; who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union.

“That’s who we remember. That’s who we need to be right now. The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth — not just because we can still keep our word and meet our obligations, but because we can still come together as one nation.”

It’s not quite as punchy as “we’re going to hurt some people,” but Obama and Republicans clearly have different styles.