Pence speech to conference

November 16, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Mike Pence, a candidate for Majority Leader gave a speech to the entire GOP conference today in which he laid out the reasons he wants to lead. During his speech he also talked about his opponent:

Let me say a word about my opponent, John Boehner.

I am not running because I think John Boehner did a bad job as Majority Leader. Quite the contrary. I think the guy deserves a medal.

John Boehner is an honorable man and John Boehner is a conservative.

He took a tough job under the worst circumstances and made the best of it and I commend him for it.

I am not running because I think I am a better man. I am running because I think I might just be the best man to lead this conference as Minority Leader.

And the role of the Minority Leader is different from Majority Leader. Each demand different skills and each have different goals.

Our goal in the Majority was to pass legislation reflecting Republican principles.

Our goal of the Republican Minority in the 110th Congress should be to defeat the liberal agenda of the Democrat Party and become the majority in Congress again.

We will only defeat the Democrat agenda by presenting a positive, conservative message in vivid contrast to the big government liberalism of the new Majority.

Read the entire speech in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Ryun on leadership elections

November 16, 2006 at 11:14 am

Outgoing conservative Congressman Jim Ryun knows a thing or two about a conservative electorate who were in no mood to support Republicans this year. He was one of the many Republican casualties in the midterms. In this piece in National Review, Ryun argues that conservatism itself was not repudiated last week, but Republicans were. He urges his colleagues to take deliberate steps to rectify the situation and he points to tomorrow’s leadership vote as a good place to start:

On Friday, House Republicans will elect its leadership for the 110th Congress. These votes are a critical first step to ensure that the party returns to its core values. While I will not have a vote in these elections, I have spoken to many of my colleagues and have urged them to vote for leaders who will again make us the party of Reagan. We need real change and that starts with new leadership. The country once again needs Republican leaders with a demonstrated commitment to limited government, fiscal responsibility, and conservative values. We do not need leaders who simply give lip service to those principles, as too many of our leaders have done recently. I hope that my colleagues will chose wisely and in doing so that our party, the party of Lincoln and the party of Reagan will once again be able to gain the trust of the American people.

Boehner announces more commitments

November 16, 2006 at 9:41 am

John Boehner’s office has released a letter this morning from Reps. Buyer, King, McMorris and Porter announcing their support of Boehner. The letter can be read in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Who will lead the minority to the majority?

November 16, 2006 at 8:45 am

I preview tomorrow’s GOP leadership elections for Townhall today:

On Friday morning House Republicans will hold a meeting to elect leaders who will lead them in the minority for the first time since 1994. The House leadership elections have become ground zero for an intra-party debate about the future of the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement.

Many outside groups, conservative blogs and grassroots conservatives are agitating for a return to bedrock conservative principles. The call for a back-to-basics approach has often been coupled with a call for fresh faces in GOP leadership. Among the members vying for leadership positions there are indeed some fresh faces as well as some old hands. But all have one thing in common: They are echoing outside calls for a return to the fundamentals.

Barton drops out of leadership race

November 15, 2006 at 9:34 pm

Congressman Joe Barton has dropped out of the race for GOP Minority Whip and thrown his support behind John Boehner. From Barton’s press release:

“Last week I indicated my interest in election to the House Republican leadership. I said that we have to be real Republicans again, driven by the power of the good ideas that we share with America’s working families, if we are to regain their trust.

“People want more freedom and less government. They want to keep more of what they earn. They want to be healthy, they want to be protected from snooping, and they want to believe that their Congress is honest. If we stand with America, America will stand with us.

“Those are the reasons I joined the race for Republican leader and, as I leave the race, I do so confident in John Boehner’s commitment to those goals. Because of that, I will join the majority of Republican members on Friday in voting for John to become our next leader.

“He not only has my vote, he has my confidence that he can unify the Republican Conference and bring us back to the majority by exercising the power of good ideas and great determination.”

Red State suggests some behind the scenes threats were made to force Barton out. If that is true, it is truly unfortunate to say the least.

Ugh…I have the feeling this could get ugly in the next 24 hours. I hope I am wrong.

UPDATE: Erick over at Red State reports that Barton’s staff says there were no threats made contrary to the initial report.

At the risk of stating the obvious, Barton’s exit from the race makes the challenge for Team Pence that much bigger.

Shadegg, Blunt on CNN

November 15, 2006 at 6:46 pm

I really like Shadegg’s platform for this leadership race, and I understand why he refuses to endorse either Boehner or Pence in this interview. But I wish he would just endorse. As Blitzer points out, he is going to have to vote for one of them. Otherwise, its a good interview.


Also, be sure to see Roy Blunt’s interview on the same show yesterday here.

Gingrich memo to House Republicans

November 15, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has penned an open memo to House Republicans. At a Republican conference meeting this morning on the hill, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas distributed this memo to his colleagues and discussed the contents. The memo stressed points such as:

– Are House Republicans electing a leadership team to be an effective minority or a leadership team to regain the majority? These are very different roles and require very different considerations, very different strategies and very different leaders.

– To regain majority status, we have to focus on the country first and on Washington and the Congress second. If we are responsive to the country, they will support us and return us to power. If we are focused on action in Washington (whether White House action, legislative action or lobbyist and PAC action), we are probably entering a long period in minority status.

– Are House Republicans electing leaders to represent House Republican values and strategies to the White House or leaders to represent the White House to House Republicans? Over the next two years, House Republicans and the White House will have very different institutional interests and very different time horizons. If we want to regain majority status, we have to focus on the building of a grassroots coalition which supports real change in Washington.

Read the entire memo in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Backing moderate Dems into a corner

November 15, 2006 at 1:51 pm

Jonathan Martin over at the Corner reports that Roy Blunt, in an effort to get ahead in the red-hot Whip race against John Shadegg, has released to NRO a document detailing his strategy should he be elected Minority Whip:

House Whip Roy Blunt wants to keep his job in the minority and he’s telling his colleagues exactly what he’ll do to ensure that they don’t stay in the minority for long.  In a nine-page memo that will be sent to his fellow Republicans later today, and obtained exclusively by NRO, Blunt writes that, “We must force the Democrats to be Democrats,” and hang together as a caucus so “their team feels the pain.”

And just what pain is the former Baptist college president talking about inflicting?

The kind that comes in forcing House Democrats from moderate and conservative districts to either support the “San Francisco agenda” of their new Speaker, and “show who they really are,” or to “vote with us.”

“Either way, we win,” Blunt writes.

I like the strategy and I hope that whoever Republicans elect on Friday employs similar tactics. Moderate Dems who prop up a super-liberal Pelosi governing platform should certainly be held to account.

Read the rest of Martin’s post here.

Straight from the candidates

November 15, 2006 at 11:08 am

The Hill this morning publishes Op-Eds from all the candidates for House leadership. Here are snippets, follow this link for the full slate of Op-Eds:

Mike Pence:

I am running for Republican leader, because I believe that Republicans did not just lose our majority on Election Day 2006 — we lost our way. We are in the wilderness because we walked away from the limited-government principles that minted the Republican Congress. But there is a way out. “The way out of the wilderness,” author Mark Helprin wrote, “is the truth; recognizing it, stating it, defending it, living by it.” Here is the truth as I see it.

Joe Barton:

I am running because I believe that ideas make a difference, and because when the Republican agenda matches America’s agenda of less government and more freedom, our party prospers.

Once we were on the verge of becoming a permanent majority, and now we are not, but it’s still up to us to stand up for the tax cuts, balanced budget and privacy protection that Americans expect. We should take this reversal of fortune for what it is, an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the things that America believes in.

John Boehner:

I’ll be the first to admit it: The Republican Party took a beating this election cycle. However, the initial news accounts and analysis of this election got it all wrong.

By and large the pundits have portrayed this as a “repudiation” or “rejection” of Republican and conservative principles. On the contrary, this election reflected the American public’s thirst for the very tenets that brought Republicans to the majority for the first time in 40 years.

Roy Blunt:

In politics there are no permanent victories, just as there are no permanent defeats. I am committed to making sure the Democrats’ victory this past Tuesday is as short as possible. But victory will not fall in our lap in two years. It will take a lot of hard work on the part of each and every member of the Republican Conference, but we are up to the task.

John Shadegg:

The election was not a mandate for a Democrat agenda so much as a repudiation of the way Washington has conducted itself — too much corruption, including the appearance of plush lifestyles and excessive coziness with lobbyists, the appearance of self-dealing, too many earmarks, and too much spending. It is critical that we listen to the voters and heed their call for change. We must learn from the past so we can look to the future with confidence and optimism.

Lott is back in leadership

November 15, 2006 at 10:51 am

Roll Call reports:

Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.) is returning to the GOP leadership, having defeated Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) in the election for Minority Whip, 25-24, in voting Wednesday morning.

More here.

Pence addresses bloggers

November 14, 2006 at 6:21 pm

Today, as I have mentioned, Mike Pence spoke with bloggers gathered at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. Other bloggers from around the country joined in via telephone thanks to N.Z. Bear’s coalition efforts to interview all the candidates for House GOP leadership. Below, I have posted the video of today’s meeting for anyone interested.

I have made no secret of my admiration of Mr. Pence on this blog. He is a straightforward conservative with a gift for communicating. As usual, he lived up to his billing today. Whether or not he wins his bid for Minority Leader, he is an invaluable asset and the sooner GOP establishment recognizes that the better.

The videos are in chronological order from top down.





Will they learn?

November 14, 2006 at 3:58 pm

I mentioned yesterday that Senate conservatives were pushing hard for the Senate not to pass any pork-laden appropriations bills over the last few weeks of GOP control. The push is in part on principle and in part to send a signal to the base that “we get it.” But now, a source from the hill sends out this message about a secret appropriations committee meeting today in the Senate:

Our understanding is that the GOP appropriations “cardinals” are split on whether or not to abandon their quest for earmarks this or year to move forward as if last week’s election never happened.According to our source, approximately half of the Senate GOP cardinals favored a “continuing resolution” to provide government funding for the remainder of this year. Under a continuing resolution, no new earmarks would receive federal funding. However, a number of other Senate GOP cardinals wanted to move forward with individual appropriations bills to ensure that their earmarks would receive funding as soon as possible.

Pitts endorses Pence

November 14, 2006 at 3:33 pm

House Values Action Team Chairman Joe Pitts has released a letter endorsing Mike Pence’s bid for Minority Leader. Pitts:

“Personally, I am not willing to wait for the Democrats to make their own mistakes to take back the majority. We need a leader who can, as Newt Gingrich did and as President Reagan did, communicate ably and earnestly with the American people about what we believe. I believe Mike Pence is that man.”

New Media for Pence, Shadegg

November 14, 2006 at 1:51 pm

I have refrained from making endorsements in the GOP leadership elections because I don’t want anyone to misread my support of a candidate as support from my employer, The Heritage Foundation, who does not endorse. But I had to link to this video below which made me proud to be a conservative. Great stuff from the gang at Jawa Report who clearly understand that real Republicanism — Reagan Republicanism — is about strong leadership and bold vision that pays no attention to political naysaying.

Republican House leadership race update

November 14, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Mike Pence spent time with bloggers today to talk about his attempt to become the next leader of House Republicans. I will post video shortly, as well as some observations.

In the meantime, the RSC Blog has the lowdown on the leadership races.

Pence making the rounds

November 14, 2006 at 9:25 am

RSC Chairman and candidate for House Minority Leader Mike Pence was on the Laura Ingraham show this morning. I caught the end of the interview in which he said, “The way we get back our mojo is by having new faces … Boehner and Barton are both conservatives but this election is about who best can lead us back to conservative principles.”

“I am not a better man, I just think I am the best man for the job.”

After the interview Ingraham said, “If there is a God in heaven, he will be the next House minority leader.”

Mike Pence will spend a portion of his lunch today speaking with conservative bloggers about his bid for leadership. Expect a full report here later.

NOTE: This quote from Mike Pence’s interview is significant: “The time for compromise on the border security issue is over.”

Draft Cantor movement?

November 14, 2006 at 8:56 am

Roll Call reports:

Unhappy with the current candidates, a small but aggressive group of House Republicans are agitating for current Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) to get into the race for Minority Whip, according to interviews with multiple GOP lawmakers who requested anonymity.

These Members are emboldened by what they say is a lack of support for incumbent Majority Whip Roy Blunt’s (Mo.) campaign, and frustration that the popular Cantor opted out of a leadership bid in deference to Blunt, who elevated the Virginian to Chief Deputy Whip when he was a freshman.

Cantor has pledged to not challenge Blunt head-on in a leadership race — a pledge Cantor has no intention of breaking, according to sources not affiliated with Cantor’s office.

I highly doubt it. Plus, at this point, they are too late in the game anyway. I think the conventional wisdom still holds: the only way Cantor runs is if Blunt for whatever reason drops out.

Tom DeLay is saying the right things

November 14, 2006 at 5:38 am

Tom DeLay on Red State:

Too many Republicans failed to continue an aggressive fight for the principles which bring us together as Republicans and as conservatives. As the great political theorist Russell Kirk points out, we conservatives believe in a society built on three first principles: Order, Justice and Freedom. These principles are the three legs of the stool upon which our society rests. With anyone of these legs removed the stool, and our society, topples.

Blunt talks with bloggers

November 13, 2006 at 5:13 pm

Majority Whip Roy Blunt today participated in an interview with bloggers regarding his bid for leadership. Mary Katharine Ham has the roundup here. Blunt’s speech at the Heritage Foundation last week is referred to several times in the call (which I missed). If you are interested in that speech I have put video of it in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Novak: Boehner and Blunt lead

November 13, 2006 at 2:34 pm

According to Robert Novak, both John Boehner and Roy Blunt are likely to prevail in their bids to stay in House leadership:

WASHINGTON — The depleted House Republican caucus, a minority in the next Congress, convenes at 8 a.m. in the Capitol Friday on the brink of committing an act of supreme irrationality. The House members blame their leadership for tasting the bitter dregs of defeat. Yet, the consensus so far is that, in secret ballot, they will re-elect some or all of those leaders.

In private conversation, Republican members of Congress blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their midterm election debacle. Yet, either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday. For good reason, the GOP often is called “the stupid party.”

While an unpopular Iraq war and an unpopular George W. Bush were primary causes of last Tuesday’s Republican rout, massive public disapproval of the Republican-controlled Congress significantly contributed. While abandoning conservative principles, the spendthrift House had become chained to special corporate interests represented by K Street lobbyists.

More:

Rep. Mike Pence, the current chairman of the RSC and a leader of reform, is an underdog candidate opposing Boehner. Rep. John Shadegg, Pence’s predecessor at the RSC who finished third in the race for leader last February, is running uphill against Blunt for whip on a reform platform. The conventional wisdom on the Hill is that, at best, only one of them can win because the Republicans would not dare elect two conservatives to the two top House leadership positions.

Club for Growth endorses Pence

November 10, 2006 at 9:30 am

The Club for Growth today endorsed Mike Pence for Minority Leader. See the press release in the extended section.

UPDATE: Marshall Manson reports that CFIF, a group with over a quarter million members, has endorsed Pence. CFIF has never endorsed a candidate before. Manson notes:

This is an interesting move, and one that CFIF did not take lightly. It also speaks to the sentiment among grassroots conservatives that it’s time for new leadership in the House. I suspect we’ll see other organizations following shortly.

UPDATE: Team Pence has release a document outlining Mike Pence’s vision for leadership. Read “Team of Leaders: Renewing Our Majority.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pence picks up endorsement

November 10, 2006 at 8:51 am

The DC Examiner editorial board this morning endorses Mike Pence for House Minority Leader. Meanwhile, the Influence Peddler links to a Roll Call story about the upcoming GOP leadership elections and notes:

Rank-and-file members don’t want to continue with the same leaders who presided over the failure. And Blunt has to know that if Boehner is selected as Minority Leader, he’s dead. That makes Shadegg the likely winner.

The internal GOP leadership vote a week from today will start at the top. The position of Minority Leader is the first vote, then Whip and on down the list. I agree with the Influence Peddler’s assumption. There is a strong appetite for change right now, and should Boehner hold his votes on the first ballot, I would suspect — but can’t be sure — that the subsequent ballots would reflect that desire for change. The question is: will the desire for change take out the entire current leadership team and bring in a Pence-Shadegg-Blackburn team? I think it is entirely possible.

More from the Influence Peddler:

There are also other, lower-level leadership posts open. Deborah Pryce has vacated the Conference Chair spot, which she would have lost anyway. Blackburn, Putnam, and Kingston are seeking that. I think Kingston is great, but he better hope a woman is elected somewhere else in leadership, if he is to have a prayer.

Kay Granger is right now the only person in the race for Conference Vice-Chair, which Kingston is vacating. John Doolittle won’t run for Conference Secretary, and apparently John Carter is the favorite there.

UPDATE: Would it be fair to say that this Wall Street Journal editorial is a Pence-Shadegg endorsement? This conclusion is about as close as you can come to that without outright saying it:

The good news is that a younger generation does seem to be stepping forward. Mike Pence, of Indiana, has already declared for minority leader, and John Shadegg of Arizona is seeking the number two job as whip. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Jeff Flake of Arizona (see his essay nearby) are among the other Members who have tried to put ideas above mere incumbency. Republican Members will make up their own minds, but their willingness to consider new leadership will say a lot about the lessons they’ve learned from this week’s drubbing.

Too many Republicans were corrupted and seduced by power and forgot why voters sent them to Washington. Winning back the majority requires new faces of leadership far removed from this year’s debacle.

King supports Pence

November 9, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Steve King has announced his support for Mike Pence’s bid for Minority Leader. Press release after the jump.

UPDATE: Another immigration hawk…actually, THE immigration hawk, Tom Tancredo has backed Pence. Wow.
Read the rest of this entry »

Blunt speech at Heritage

November 9, 2006 at 2:58 pm

I just finished listening to Roy Blunt give a speech here at Heritage in which he called for a return to bedrock conservative principles. Blunt was contrite and acknowledged that Republicans in Congress, including himself, in many ways have failed to live up to conservative principles. Content-wise the speech showed that Roy Blunt understands the lesson of this election.

It is encouraging to hear more and more voices within the Republican party acknowledge as much. But of course, words are words, over the next two years, it is imperative that actions follow.

I have more thoughts that I will post later as well as a transcript of the speech.

UPDATE: The text of Blunt’s speech is in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Defeat for Republicans, not conservatives

November 9, 2006 at 8:58 am

The Heritage Foundation’s Mike Franc has a must-read column in today’s Baltimore Sun:

Tuesday’s election results, though undoubtedly humiliating to partisan Republicans, did nothing to repudiate the core principles of modern conservatism. In fact, most conservatives view the shift in power on Capitol Hill as a golden opportunity to reassert the timeless conservative principles that so many Republicans seem to have forgotten: limited government, low taxes, a judicial branch that strictly interprets the Constitution, and a strong national defense.

At its core, America continues to be an essentially conservative nation. Leave it to Bill Clinton to have captured this dynamic best. “The reason we are at this moment,” he said in a campaign speech last week, “is that [Republican leaders] do not represent faithfully the Republicans and the more conservative independents in the country.” He stretched reality a little, but not by much, when he argued that anyone who takes the conservative view on the budget, law enforcement and other issues ought to cast his or her lot with the Democrats.

And quite a few did. In every competitive Senate election save Rhode Island’s, the Democrat won the votes of substantially more self-identified conservatives than the Republican did of liberals. One-fifth of all conservative voters in Pennsylvania, for example, voted for Democrat Bob Casey. Ohio’s senator-elect, Sherrod Brown, who voted the conservative position only 8 percent of the time during his 14 years in the House (according to the American Conservative Union’s scorecard), nevertheless won the votes of 23 percent of Ohio’s conservatives. But even the support of all self-identified conservatives in those states would not have been enough to pull Sens. Rick Santorum and Mike DeWine over the finish line. Significantly, in at least three of the closest races - in Missouri, Montana and Virginia - the net cost of losing these conservatives was greater than the Republican margin of defeat.

More:

Some will look at the heavy losses incurred by Republican moderates in the Northeast and argue that the GOP must move to the middle. This may be good advice, but not if Northeastern Republicans want to win back the hearts and minds of conservative voters. As in the contested Senate races, exit poll data demonstrate that self-identified conservatives who supported the Democratic House candidates made up fully 6 percent of the electorate, while liberals who gravitated to the Republican amounted to only 1.7 percent of the total. That means the “my-conservatives-for-your-liberals” trade netted a loss of 4.3 percent of the total electorate. For moderate Republicans in the Northeast, this was an avoidable disaster.

Boehner declares candidacy

November 8, 2006 at 4:37 pm

John Boehner, as expected, will run for Minority Leader. Hotline on Call:

The Hotline has learned that Maj. Leader John Boehner plans to run for Min. Leader. A formal announcement is expected within the next few days. A source close to Boehner says that several dozen House Republican members have called to express their support.

UPDATE: See Boehner’s “dear colleague” in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

Limbaugh on midterm losses

November 8, 2006 at 4:11 pm

Rush gets it too. In his radio broadcast today he said this about last night’s GOP defeats:

There hasn’t been in the ideology in the Republican Party, any conservatism for at least two to maybe four years. You could argue Bush was more of an ideologue in the presidential campaign of ‘04, but in looking at what happened yesterday, it wasn’t conservatism that lost. Conservatism won when it ran as a Democrat. It won in a number of places. Republicanism lost. RINO Republicans, country club blue-blood Republicans, this nonpartisan Republican identity, that’s what went down in flames. I’ve always believed that those of us who are conservative believe in the ideology. We believe it wins. We believe it’s best for the country. We believe it’s best for the people. We believe it’s ultimately compassionate, and it has not been present.

Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people having asking me how I feel all night long. I got, “Boy, Rush, I wouldn’t want to be you tomorrow! Boy, I wouldn’t want to have to do your show! Oh-ho. I’m so glad I’m not you.” Well, folks, I love being me. (I can’t be anybody else, so I’m stuck with it.) The way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I’m going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried.

“We did not just lose our Majority-we lost our way”

November 8, 2006 at 2:58 pm

Mike Pence has made it official. This afternoon his office released the letter he has sent to fellow Republicans announcing his intention to run for the GOP top spot. Read the letter after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Romney on midterm losses

November 8, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Mitt Romney gets it. From a Romney press release:

Americans spoke last night and Republicans are listening. Americans have not become less conservative, but they believe some Republicans have. As a party, we need to remember who we are and the principles that have always led our party and our country to success.

We must return to the common sense Reagan Republican ideals of fighting for hard working Americans, lowering taxes, shrinking government, curbing out-of-control spending, promoting the traditional values of faith, family and freedom, and providing a strong national security with all the necessary tools to protect the American people and win the War on Terror. Read the rest of this entry »

Big government Republicanism refuted, Dems reap gains

November 8, 2006 at 8:43 am

Last night was a bloodbath for the GOP all across the country. I suspect as the votes are tallied and the exit polling is further broken down it will become abundently clear that the GOP losses were the result of a dispirited conservative base. Voters were not so much voting for Democrats as they were against the GOP. After all, how could voters vote for a party that has offered no real governing platform?

While I cringe when faced with the new reality of a House of Representatives run by San Francisco liberal values, I fear more the prospect that this voter imposed time-out for Republicans does not work. It is up to conservatives within the GOP to see to it that their colleagues take to heart the lessons of November 2006. Big government conservatism — the kind that says big government is good government as long as it is our government — has been repudiated.

The Republican party — Ronald Reagan’s Party — cannot “out-big government” the Democrats. The only way this Party functions genuinely is by operating on the guiding conservative principles of limited government, traditional values and a strong national defense. Two out of the three will not work.

Neglecting one of the three legs of the stool — limited government — is rightly seen by the American voter as a betrayal of principle. Voters who sent Republicans to Washington did not send them there to increase the size of government. Yet that is what they have done.

  • It started in 2003 with the first creation of a new entitlement in decades: the Medicare Prescription Drug Act.
  • The No Child Left Behind Act continues to symbolize Republican abandonement of conservative principles as increased funding is poured into the federal program.
  • Then the doling out of pork for political purposes further signaled a comfortableness with spending the people’s money freely.
  • The latest federal transportation bill grew to enormous and unprecedented proportions.
  • Congress’s “third party,” the Appropriators, continue to gain power and influence. Republicans, the once Party of limited government, have overseen the shift of power to the pork-hungry Appropriators who weild their power in embarassing and harmful ways. Ted Stevens is still unapologetic for his shamelessness on the Bridge to Nowhere vote.
  • Senator Judd Gregg has proposed a comprehensive budget reform package that would clean up the spending mess in Congress. He cannot even get floor time for a vote, much less the support the whole GOP caucus in the Senate.

It is now left to the conservatives in both the House and Senate to clearly understand the magnitude of the betrayal and to lead their Party back to Reagan Republicanism. Mike Pence is reportedly considering a run for the top leadership slot in the House. Here is a man who understands Reagan and therefore understands what it means to be a conservative. Whether in leadership or not, he must be an integral part of this renewal process.

It is back to basics for the GOP. Republicans have two years to prove to the American voter that they are conservatives who are in Washington to check the ever-growing power and reach of the federal government, not to become part of it.

UPDATE: It begins…as expected, Mike Pence will run for Minority Leader.

UPDATE: A Pence for Minority Leader community has formed at Facebook.

UPDATE 10:30: I am on a conference call right now with two well known pollsters. One of the most telling stats they have is this: 20 percent of self-identified conservative voters this year voted for Democrats, while only 8 percent of liberal voters crossed over. Conservatives punished Republicans for straying from principle.

More on the potential GOP leadership shakeup

November 2, 2006 at 2:30 pm

John Fund writes for the Wall Street Journal Opinion Diary email:

Many GOP House members have expressed unhappiness that leadership elections for their caucus are scheduled for the week of November 13, only a few days after the mid-term election. Now it looks as if the leadership vote will be postponed should Republicans lose their House majority and feel a need to go into soul-searching mode.

“Such an early election is a blatant attempt by the incumbents to shut off discussion of what went wrong,” one member told me. “We need time to debate our future before we vote.” Indeed, several members are openly talking about changes being necessary in the leadership team.

“If we lose the majority, I think it ought to be a clean sweep — a fresh start” in the leadership, Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona told the Hill newspaper. Without that, he fears the current practice of trying to re-elect incumbents by having them dole out earmarks and special favors rather than stand for bedrock principles such as fiscal restraint will continue.

Should the GOP stumble into minority status, look for Speaker Dennis Hastert to step down as head of the House Republicans. John Boehner would be likely to run for the job of Minority Leader, although he might be challenged by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, the hard-charging head of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

I still have trouble seeing a scenario in which Boehner is ousted. Too many conservatives have said too many good things about him for me to think he is yet vulnerable to a challenge from the right. Recently, Dick Armey told bloggers that Boehner should be trusted by conservatives. He said that there were only four people at the table when the 1994 Contract with America was crafted: himself, Newt Gingrich, Bob Walker and John Boehner.

Additionally, Congressman John Shadegg at a recent GOP press event praised Boehner for his work in leadership. According to Shadegg, without Boehner, the incremental progress conservatives have made since his ascension to the post of Majority Leader has been a direct result of his influence.

All that being said, I do think it is high time that a conservative of Mike Pence’s caliber be elected to House leadership. Whether it could be the top spot or not depends entirely on the outcome of the elections and the conclusions that the House GOP caucus draws from them.