Tuesday, February 7, 2006

The House Republican Leader: Not Ideal but O. K.

Sorry to be dilatory with this. Election of Ohio’s John Boehner as House Majority Leader is o.k. Republicans could have done far worse by electing Roy Blunt. The ideal choice would have been John Shadegg but his entrance into the race was late. Saving grace: by removing himself, he gets credit for electing Boehner, and will have, presumably, some influence to wield. Boehner is not an idealistic as Shadegg, but has strong convictions including on social issues. The fact that he has not been noted for bringing home the pork is exemplary. That everlasting tan comes from German genes (so-called “black German looks”). He comes across better on TV than DeLay although grammar is a problem as with some working-class (“Sure,” he said, “I took it serious”). Darkly good looking, he’s has been called “Dean Martin gone to Congress” which scares me a bit. He’s a two-pack a day smoker and still has enough of the non-Boy Scout image to quell regulars who feared the GOP would be run like a Campfire Girls picnic. Perhaps because I was a lobbyist for so long, I never saw anything wrong as such with Tom DeLay’s desire to build a constituency on K Street by convincing them to hire Republicans and pension off the old Dem guys. Those of us who remember the era of Tip O’Neill knew that K Street was overwhelmingly in his pocket and nobody complained. It was the deals that came after, born of DeLay’s desire to take overseas junkets that turned into golfing trips and the twisting of so-called 501(c) (3) foundations that caused trouble. That and rascals like Abramoff playing around with Indian tribes and writing speeches for the Congressional Record that Congressmen didn’t give.

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