House Republicans on the Brink

Hopefully the fact that the House Republican caucus is going to vote for a leader to replace Tom Delay on Groundhog Day is not an omen. The one thing that might save the Democrats from themselves and give them an actual chance at retaking the majority this November is the election of Roy Blunt. I prefer Shadegg to Boehner, but either would be infinitely preferrable to the "business as usual" guy from Missouri.

If you want to talk seriously about changing the "culture of corruption" and reducing the role of lobbyists, Roy Blunt is not your guy. A man who was literally sleeping with a lobbyist (Blunt not too long ago divorced his wife of more than 30 years to marry the lobbyist from the Altria Group--the new name for tobacco giant Philip Morris--with whom he had been carrying on an affair.) is hardly the face the Republican Party needs to put forward to put the Delay/Abramoff mess behind them.

Given the relentless drumbeat of the liberal media on anything that can possibly be slanted against Republicans, Blunt's election would be guaranteed to focus attention on the very problems they're hoping to put behind them. Blunt claims to have the votes to win, but given the secret balloting, that may not hold up. For the conservatives, Shadegg seems the best choice, but if he finishes third on the first round (assuming no majority), he'll be out and Boehner will be the best alternative.

I still haven't gotten around to the post I've been promising on the 06 elections, but this seemingliy inconspicuous leadership election is one of the two or three most important things that's going to happen between now and then. Blunt's election would seriously dampen the optimism I'm planning to write about...we'll see.

UPDATE: Well, it's Boehner. Not as good as Shadegg, but the Democrats have still lost a major attack point (not that they still won't try...Pickett had nothing on these guys) for the 06 elections. Hopefully Boehner wasn't just talking the reform game to get elected...time will tell.


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