Landmines Aplenty in GOP House Leadership

Friday, March 10, 2006

Landmines Aplenty in GOP House Leadership

The conventional wisdom blames the current disarray within the House GOP leadership on Tom DeLay's decision to give up his leadership post. (DeLay may have been a liar and a scoundrel, but he definitely knew how to corral Republican House members when necessary.) But the challenges that the DeLay-less GOP leadership faces go far beyond the Hammer's departure.

In a profile on Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, DeLay's replacement as majority leader, CQ Weekly explained the potential collision courses that Boehner faces with his GOP colleagues (subscription only):
Boehner has made no secret of his desire to succeed his new boss (Hastert) ... so the two are circling each other somewhat warily, with Hastert eager to cement his supremacy and Boehner looking for opportunities to for undercutting that power.

... They come from different factions in the House: Hastert was taken under DeLay's wing ... at a time when Boehner was Republican Conference chairman and a DeLay rival in the leadership.

... (Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri) represents Boehner's primary rival to become the next Speaker.

.... As Appropriations chairman, [Rep. Jerry Lewis of Calif.] has the most to lose as Boehner pushes his signature "reform" issue of limiting earmarks in spending bills. Although such curbs would limit his power, Lewis has been open to some restrictions. But he and Boehner have been rivals in the past ...

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