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House GOP Leadership Elections, a Disappointment not a Disaster

While I, like many conservatives, am disappointed by the GOP House Leadership elections, I am at least heartened that current Majority Leader — and future Minority Leader — John Boehner recognizes that the GOP needs “to get back to our core principles and rededicate ourselves to the reform mindset that put us in the majority 12 years ago.

In her column on the elections, the columnist I’ve called “my Athena,” agrees, saying Republicans “must develop a conservatism that speaks for and to the times. And stop being pigs–i.e., earmarking careerists who started with belief and wound up with hunger.” And Boehner has been anything but an “earmarking careerist,” having kept a promise he made in his 1990 bid for Congress not to bring back pork to his district.

And despite his distaste for pork, he easily won that election as well as his eight subsequent reelections — in presidential years, always running ahead of our party’s nominee for Chief Executive. A sign that if one represents his constituents well, he doesn’t need bring back the bacon to keep his seat.

While I would have preferred Boehner’s rival, Indiana conservative Mike Pence, I note with some comfort that, in his first term in Congress, Boehner worked with then-Minority Whip Newt Gingrich to develop a strategy to help the GOP become the nation’s majority party. They did so by committing the party to the small-government ideas of Ronald Reagan. Let us hope that, as Minority Leader, Boehner returns to those ideas — and to the lessons he learned in the early 1990s.

Today’s election may seem a setback to conservatives, but it need not be. If Boehner recalls the energy and idealism of his first years in Congress, he should succeed. That he has held to his initial campaign promise not to bring pork back to his district is a good sign of a man committed to principle. Now, if he could only extend that practice to the rest of his colleagues, the GOP could become more principled and responsible in the minority than it was in its most recent years in the majority.

UPDATE: Over at Hugh Hewitt, Dean Barnett seems cautiously optimistic about Boehner. After talking with the Cincinnati native, Dean writes:

I found Boehner to be impressive when we spoke, and he seems like a natural leader. The fact that he mid-wifed the horrific No Child Left Behind monstrosity isn’t a mark in his favor, but the voters definitely gave the Republican Party a “come to Jesus” moment last week and I think Boehner got the message. At least I hope he did.

Now that I’ve whet you appetite, just read the whole thing!



    I think everyone should check out this link and see the kind of violent and homophobic rants people are making at Ace of Spades HQ regarding the UCLA student being tasered in the library.

    Comment by ryan — November 17, 2006 @ 5:51 pm - November 17, 2006

  2. Other than calling him names like sissy, and a bunch of other, yes, references to his girlish behavior, the rants are quite balanced and Ace is firmly on the side that the tasering was uncalled for.

    So are you mad about the language? The approval of the tasering (which is by no means the consensus)? Or the fact that a Moslem student decided that his rights were being violated by being asked to follow the exact same rules as every other student?

    Comment by Synova — November 17, 2006 @ 8:30 pm - November 17, 2006

  3. I too was surprised the GOP didn’t pick somebody different for at least one of the top 2 posts. It seemed like a logical thing to do.

    Comment by Chase — November 17, 2006 @ 10:10 pm - November 17, 2006

  4. Boehner won 168-27. Blunt won with 147-57. This wasn’t even close.

    Those who think such overwhelming majorities of the elected Republicans are so completely out of step should be thinking instead why they themselves are pretending to be Republicans.

    Obviously, Boehner and Blunt represent the Republican mainstream.

    Comment by Jim Addison — November 18, 2006 @ 3:00 am - November 18, 2006

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