Saturday, February 04, 2006

House Majority Leader John Boehner

The best that can be said of the decision of House Republicans in Congress selecting Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) over Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) to replace Tom DeLay as Majority Leader is that it was the lesser of two evils. In passing over Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), a real reformer, the GOP may have missed its last chance at saving its majority in this year's election.

Both Boehner and Blunt have serious ethical clouds hanging over their heads in an atomsphere of a corruption-plagued Congress. While Boehner was passing out campaign checks from the tobacco industry on the floor of the House to reward members for their votes, Blunt was providing legislative favors to the tobacco folks who were employing his wife and son to lobby on their behalf.

Shadegg managed to get just 40 votes, primarily from the House Republican Study Committee's ranks led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), but that turned out to be more than enough to deny the ethically-challenged Blunt from getting the 117 votes he needed to win on a first ballot. Blunt fell 7 votes short of a majority, even though he claimed to have secured the support of a majority of the caucus for a couple of weeks ago. The Shadegg supporters chose Boehner over Blunt who failed to pick up any support on the second ballot.

Several media sources falsely reported on the circumstances which required that the first ballot be recast. While it was reported that more votes were cast than the number of members present for a vote, it was not widely reported that it was the result of the caucus forgotting that the delegate from Puerto Rico, who was present for the vote, was also permitted to cast a vote.

Indiana's Pence most assuredly will have the ear of the new leader. While his man didn't win, Boehner's majority would not have been possible without the support of the bloc of House members he leads. Let's hope he can get the leadership to support the complete overhaul of lobbying rules and reform the budget process. Though a lot of praying may be required that Boehner does not become ensnared in a probe of his own past misdeeds, landing the party right back where it was under the DeLay cloud.


Anonymous said...

How depressingly funny... hoping and praying the GOP would/could possibly be serious about reform!

Anonymous said...

Thinking now of Rep. Mike Pence… is his democratic opponent—Barry Welsh—by chance, related to AI editor Gary Welsh?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Barry is not related to Gary.