February 19, 2005


The next Speaker (Robert Novak, February 19, 2005, Townhall)

If House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert were to announce his retirement, the most likely successor would be somebody given up for dead a few years ago as far as Republican leadership ambitions were concerned: Rep. John Boehner of Ohio.

At age 45 with only four years' experience in Congress, Boehner was named chairman of the House Republican Conference when the GOP took control of the House in the 1994 elections. He lost support from rank-and-file members, partly because of his role in the unsuccessful coup to replace Newt Gingrich as speaker.

Helps that everyone later realized the coup was right.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2005 8:30 AM

Newt was indispensable from 1989 until about April of 1995. After that, he descended into a caricature of himself. He had to go, much like Dole and Kemp and Lott had to get off stage (in order for the party to get past the Clinton wars).

Now, Newt is happy and much calmer doing cable TV, and the GOP is much more effective with DeLay and Hastert running the show. Not even The New Yorker could demonize Denny Hastert.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 19, 2005 10:36 AM

Without Newt, we wouldn't be in charge of the House now. The ranting Howard Dean may do the same thing for the Dems.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at February 19, 2005 3:23 PM

It was the Contract, not Newt. If Democrats run on 10 items that poll at 75-80% they'll be a conservative party.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 3:28 PM

According to Rush, Dean will be ranting at Pelosi and Reid and McAuliffe for some time: Nancy and Harry enticed Terry to give the congressional PACs the mother lode of Democratic donation databases. They can do their own fundraising now, without going begging to Howard.

I always thought Newt should have been able to out-policy Clinton (he was never going to out-politic him). But he just sputtered and fumed instead. Newt would have been just as ineffective against Al Gore, which is pretty damning, if you ask me.

Posted by: ratbert at February 19, 2005 11:26 PM