Paul  Weyrich

The House of Representatives is involved in a reasserted Leadership Election due to the resignation of Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX) as Majority Leader. DeLay, who very seldom has yielded to political pressure, this time, threw in the towel. DeLay was pressured by Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and other Republicans. The timing may prove very costly to DeLay personally. The Supreme Court of Texas was poised to hear the case for immediate dismissal of the charges against DeLay upon the grounds that a decision had to be made one way or the other as to who leads the Congress.

As soon as DeLay announced he would not seek to return to the Majority Leader’s position, the Court decided that it would not accelerate its proceedings. Political observers of all stripes in Texas believe that DeLay ultimately will win that case. But now that the litigation will drag on into the spring or even later, Delay’s legal bills are piling up. He must raise millions to defend himself, which just doesn’t seem fair.

So there is an election scheduled February 2nd. The three contestants are Acting Majority Leader and elected Majority Whip Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO), Representative John A. Boehner (R-OH) and Representative John B. Shadegg (R-AZ).

I am personally supporting Blunt. That comes as a great shock to many of my conservative colleagues. They assumed, since I had helped organize the Republican Study Committee (RSC) with Edwin J. Feulner in 1973 that I would support Shadegg, who was RSC Chairman rather recently. Some even thought I would support Boehner inasmuch as he supposedly would represent change from the DeLay regime, from which everyone and his mother is trying to run, and he is a fervent advocate of school vouchers, a favorite topic of mine.

Let me tell you why I am supporting Blunt. I know all three Members. It is a tribute to how far conservatives have come in Republican politics that all three candidates are among the most conservative House Members. So this is not a question of philosophy.

First, we must acknowledge that great things have been accomplished by Republicans in the House since DeLay has been Majority Leader and Blunt has been Majority Whip. You don’t know about these great things? That is because the Senate has refused to concur in most of them and because the media, new and old, has not reported the story. Yes, I understand the need for a different image on account of the Abramoff Scandal. So far as I know, Blunt is no more involved in that scandal then 300 other House and Senate Members who received money from Abramoff or his clients. I don’t think that electing any of the three would be a radical change from the past.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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