Thursday, November 09, 2006

Boehner Playing Hardball With Pence

The Hotline blog reports that supporters of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) are already taking out the knives against Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) in the battle to become the new House Minority Leader for the Republicans. You have to laugh at the issue that is being used against him. It seems, at least inside the beltway, some folks don't think Pence's staff is up to the task:

Pence is being assaulted by Boehner friends in emails to members. One suggested that while Pence has done a good job with the RSC, his staff is isn't up to the job and certainly not as able as those of past GOP leaders like Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey or Tom DeLay. Boehner's staff, some of which have worked for DeLay, generally get good grades. Said one anti-Pence email, Pence "is a nice man. And a conservative," but it went on to criticize his staff. "Boehner actually does not have great staff, but they have at lease run a committee before and know floor procedures and Boehner is tough," it continued. A Pence backer dismissed the charge, though, as a dirty campaign tactic.

I've not been a big fan of Pence because of his proclivity towards divisive, cultural issues, but I do think that both Republicans and Democrats in Indiana should agree that Pence's ascension to the Minority Leader's job would be good for Indiana. Other than Rep. Pete Visclosky (D) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R), there are no other members of the congressional delegation with any clout. It's also been a long time since Indiana has had anyone in a significant leadership position. Rep. John Brademas (D) is probably the most recent example. He served as House Majority Whip before he was defeated by Rep. John Hiler (R) in the 1980 Reagan landslide. You also have to admit that Pence would make a better spokesman for the GOP than Boehner, who looks and talks like someone auditioning to play an extra on the "Sopranos."


Anonymous said...

Indiana delivered three freshman to the rout this year. In that Class of 08, one of them will surely rise to leadership soon.

Pence is a nice guy for a wigged out conservative Republican.

Boehner, I'm told by DC wags, can be linked pretty closely to the Foley scandal, despite his protests otherwise.

We'll see.

Minority Leader ain't worth a cup of warm drool, tho.

What's gonna be funny is the K St. lobbyist switchover. DeLay had gone down that street with such a vengance, that some of those firms are rushing to hire some D-leaning folks.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Quite to the contrary. The Minority Leader will have a lot of clout. You have to realize that the freshman class of Democrats is much more conservative on the whole than the current Democratic caucus. Hill, Ellsworth and Donnelly are all much more conservative than the national Democratic Party. The Blue Dog Dems may form coalitions with Republicans from time to time on key issues--just like occurred when the Rs were still in the minority back in the 80s under Reagan.

Anonymous said...

I know Joe Donnelly well. He's not conservative. Not even close.

ML is only Speaker in Waiting, evidence Pelosi. If you're ML and not careful, you're tagged with all the losses and get credit for none of the wins. Speaker gets a lot more leeway.

I hope Pence gets it, but it's still not worth much. You get a nice, bigger office, and Capitol Police protection to ride around in a big armored SUV. You get to sit in on big meetings.

But in today's ever-increasing polarized, wedge policial climate, the 200 (+/-) Repulibcans are already looking for ways to dethrone Pelosi. From about half of them, you'll hear nothing but shrill sounds for two years.

I think the Dems will hang together on the tough votes. They've got about 12-13 extra votes, and on tough issues, where re-election back home could be difficult, Dem leadership will give a pass to certain new members.

At least now we'll have less m,eaningless wedge issue votes to posture on the side of "morality: or "national security."

That structure didn't work well for Hastert.

God this sounds good: Former Speaker Hastert.

LPerdue said...

AI, I have to take exception to your back-handed comment about the "Sopranos."