Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Republican House Leaders

A little more on politics today, as Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn reports on the House Republican elections at Human Events (Disclosure: I contributed to Lamborn's 2006 and 2008 campaigns). While the caucus re-elected John Boehner to Minority Leader, (despite opposition from Dan Lungren of California) they did bring in some new blood in the persons of Eric Cantor of Virginia as minority whip and Mike Pence of Indiana as conference chairman. The return of Pence to a leadership will have strong endorsement from the conservative establishment, and was a bit of a surprise. It was expected that the outgoing chair of the Republican Study Group, Jeb Hensarling of TExas, might make a ply for the spot but he passed in favor of Pence. Pence does brign a lot to the table for a party struggling with its identity and how to reach voters.

"In Pence’s acceptance statement, he made three points. Every single member must be highly involved in taking back the House, Republicans need to be happy warriors, and the Republican Party needs once again to be the party of ideas.

Pence’s acknowledged media skills -- he worked previously in broadcasting -- make him a natural for the high-profile conference chairman slot. He will not only be working frequently with Boehner and Cantor to fashion and express the Republican message but will be helping individual House members be effective communicators within their own spheres. Pence also has a history of standing up to Republican leadership when he believed they departed from Republican values while he was chairman a few years ago of the conservative Republican Study Committee."

Policy chair Thaddus McCotter of Michigan was re-elected and Pete Sessions of Texas was elected as NRCC chair. Lamborn believes that some of the criticism of Boehner is a bit unjustififed, as he has held the leadership only one term. Unencumbered by a Republican administration that often asked for compromise with the opposition, the House is likely to quite a bit more vocal on many issues.

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