The Race is On (Update: Tancredo Backs Pence)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 09, 2006 3:38 PM

Big thank you to commenter blogagog for the Photoshop! Ask and ye shall receive!

The Minority Leader throw-down is George Hamilton vs. George Clooney, as I mentioned yesterday, and I'll take Clooney, picture above played convincingly by Mike Pence. Here's part of Pence's statement on his run:

"I am running for Republican leader because we didn't just lose our majority, I believe we lost our way....

"Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people didn't quit on the Contract with America, we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters....

"Only by making a dramatic turn in the direction of the agenda of the Republican Revolution can we hope to attain majority status again..... We must again embrace the notion the Republicans seek power not simply to govern but change government. We are the agents of change and we must return to that reformist vision....

"I believe we must confront this moment with new leadership and new voices. We must take a page from the playbook of President Ronald Reagan who taught us that it is not enough to believe great things, we must effectively communicate great things to the American people...

Shadegg is taking on Blunt for the Minority Whip position. Here's Shadegg:

"Last night's election was NOT a revolution, nor was it an endorsement of a true or real Democrat alternative. It was a rebuke of the way Washington has conducted itself as of late. This past year, we were presented with many opportunities to act decisively, but instead we wavered in our responsibilities. Yet in defeat there is hope, and now we are presented with an opportunity to reevaluate, unite, and change course."

"It is for these reasons, along with the urging of my colleagues that I have decided to run for Minority Whip. Now is the time to return to the ideals that swept us into a governing majority. The Democrats that were elected yesterday do not represent the reform that Americans want. They do not stand for a strong national defense, nor do they stand for fiscal restraint. They will not end pork barrel spending or reform the earmarking process, and they will not change the way Washington works."

And, Blunt apparently has not taken the lessons he should have from this cycle. This from a little birdie at Heritage, where Blunt spoke today:

He stated that the elimination of earmarks would do "nothing but shift funding decisions from one side of Pennsylvania Ave. to the other." This is the platform espoused by appropriators: the money's going to be spent anyway, so we might as well get our share. This is the same attitude that led many to think that there was nothing wrong with spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a Bridge to Nowhere.

Instead of reading Will, Blunt's been watching Cartman:"What you guys didn't like that overspending and expanding government? Whateva, whateva. I do what I want." Content warning, but this is such a perfect illustration of an appropriator's attitude that I can't pass it up.


So, the angel Photoshop is mostly a joke. I like Pence, but neither he nor Shadegg is going to be perfect, and both run this risk of becoming leaders at the risk of losing their conservatism, just as all conservatives do. But I'm encouraged that both have shown tremendous strength of principle in the past when confronted with the full pressure of the Republican leadership and the administration to support very unconservative bills, so I have some faith in them.

Pence will undoubtedly have to answer questions about his proposed immigration compromise, which Pence calls a middle ground, but hardcore conservatives on immigration don't take kindly to. But I think when faced with a choice between the current Republican leadership and fresh leadership that passionately backs 99.9 percent of my issues but gives me pause on one, I'll go with the new guy.

Update: Tancredo backs Pence, so I gotta think that's gonna help with some of the immigration questions.