January 9, 2006


Two Major Contenders in Race to Lead House Republicans (CARL HULSE, 1/09/06, NY Times)

One day after Representative Tom DeLay of Texas ended his effort to regain the majority leader's position, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, announced he would oppose Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri for the post.

"I want to start a conversation within our conference - a conversation about renewal," Mr. Boehner wrote in a letter to his colleagues. "Renewal in spirit, renewal in principles, renewal in commitment."

At the same time, Mr. Blunt, the No. 3 leader, who has been filling in for Mr. DeLay since his indictment in a Texas campaign finance case in September, stepped up an aggressive campaign to secure commitments from his colleagues as he and his allies tracked down House members scattered for the recess. While the names of other potential leadership candidates circulated, no one else immediately stepped forward. [...]

Congressional aides said the election to choose a permanent successor for Mr. DeLay was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 2, but both Mr. Blunt and Mr. Boehner were trying to wrap up the contest quickly by obtaining pledges from at least 116 members - a majority of the current Republican membership of 231.

"I've got a lot of phone numbers, a lot of e-mail addresses," Mr. Boehner said in an interview on the Fox News Channel. "But so far, so good."

Mr. Boehner served as conference chairman, the No. 4 position in the leadership, after Republicans seized control of the House in 1994. But he lost the job in 1998 in a leadership shakeup that sent Republicans looking for new faces at the top. Since then, he has concentrated on legislation, using his committee chairmanship to develop major education and pension bills.

Mr. Blunt was brought into the leadership in 1999 when Mr. DeLay made him chief deputy whip. He took the No. 3 whip position when Mr. DeLay was promoted to majority leader in 2002. The last few months were challenging for Mr. Blunt as he led House Republicans in Mr. DeLay's absence, struggling to reach consensus on budget issues. Mr. Blunt will try to persuade his colleagues that narrow approval of the measures last month earned him the job. [...]

House Republican aides said Mr. Hastert and Mr. Dreier were open to a broad array of changes in lobbying rules and hoped to meet with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and the author of his own proposal, as well as with Democrats who have introduced initiatives.

Only Senator McCain can create the image of their having a clean bill of health.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2006 9:29 AM

Politics: from the Greek Poli, meaning citizen and tic meaning blood-sucking parasite. The Senator from Lincoln Savings & Loan is certainly a reminder of what it's all about.

Posted by: h-man at January 9, 2006 10:34 AM

Didn't Maverick take the most money?

Posted by: Sandy P at January 9, 2006 11:41 AM

Boehner was already in the Republican leadership and got booted? What makes Republican's think someone who couldn't cut it at #4 will make a good #2?

Posted by: William at January 9, 2006 1:09 PM

He got booted for leading the revolt against Gingrich, a point in his favor.

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2006 1:59 PM

And wasn't he the one who's cellphone conversation tape ended up in the hands of Privacy Advocate Jim McDermott? And didn't "Baghdad" Jim have to cough up some of his unnecessary campaign loot to pay off a civil lawsuit?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 9, 2006 5:44 PM

Raoul, Why wasn't McDermott jailed for that caper?

Posted by: erp at January 9, 2006 6:12 PM


McDermott didn't make the recordings - that was some loony left couple from Florida (who heard Gingrich's voice on a scanner). They broke the law in a much clearer way than Baghdad Jim did. But he should have been expelled from Congress.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 9, 2006 11:16 PM

Boehner is from Ohio. That should automatically disqualify him as a RINO.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 10, 2006 12:38 AM

He didn't make the tape, but he was the person those two sought out because they thought some sort of crime was being committed. Which is bizarre, as there's no rational reason to think that unless they'd had previous contact with the guy. Last I remember McDermott was reprimanded by the Ethics Committee (BFD), and Boehner got a civil judgement against McDermott for his passing the tape on to the newspapers.

It's too bad that such incidents keep getting swept under the rug in the Stupid Party's attempts to be nice to the Dems. Back when they ran the place, a Rayburn or McCormick would never forgive or forget such an affront.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 10, 2006 12:37 PM

Didn't McDermott run to the NYT with the tapes? That must cross any number of laws.

Posted by: erp at January 10, 2006 12:38 PM