Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Boehner, Blunt or Shadegg?

As reported by The Anti-Hippy and the signitories of The Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers, there's much interest in what Shadegg has to offer the Republican Party.

Stephen Moore takes a closer look at Boehner, Blunt and Shadegg.

Monday, January 16, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

"We're going to find out whether Republicans have an appetite for a substantial reform agenda against pork spending, out-of-control budgets and deal-making politics as usual in this town." Those were the words that conservative Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona used when he announced his 11th-hour candidacy for the House Republican leader's slot vacated by Tom DeLay. Mr. Shadegg's entry means that conservatives and disgruntled moderates will have a horse in the leadership race after all. Said one House conservative, "John's like Burt Reynolds in 'The Longest Yard.' He's throwing caution into the wind, buckling his football helmet chin strap, and rushing on to the field in the fourth quarter to try to save the GOP team from an ugly defeat in the elections this November."

To be sure, Mr. Shadegg has the look of a decided underdog. He will take on party heavyweights John Boehner of Ohio and the acting leader, Roy Blunt of Missouri. But for many of the new-generation, reform-minded House Republicans, Mr. Blunt is seen as too shackled to the K Street/DeLay money machine to clean up the abuses of power that taint the party. He's an unapologetic supporter of earmarks (at least he's honest!) and was the whip who strong-armed a handful of conservatives to vote for the Medicare prescription drug bill with its multitrillion-dollar price tag. Mr. Blunt has sprinted into the early lead with a pitch that is pure horse-trading power politics--of the kind that Republicans once denounced and that, thankfully, still repels some in the caucus. If he wins, the leadership team will be composed of the DeLay machine, minus only Mr. DeLay. Where the policy vision and voice for political reform will come from is anyone's guess."

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