An Opening For Real Reform?
Hotline blog has an intriguing post on why neither Blunt nor Boehner seems to be taking off. On Boehner:
To us, it seems that Boehner is trying to align himself with the emerging conservative school of thought (best expressed in the WSJ) that the ossified GOP majority needs to remember that they came to town not to praise D.C., but to bury it.
While this may be Boehner’s best angle in forming a coalition large enough to hit 116, it is not exactly a natural fit. Yes, yes, we know that Boehner voted against the pork-stuffed highway bill last year. And we know that he has not tucked in earmarks to benefit OH-08 since coming to the House.
But the Boehner his colleagues know — and the Boehner that the folks in this town who care about such inside-baseball as leadership races likely know — is the one that you can find dragging on a cigarette and kibitzing with members and lobbyists in the basement grill of the Capitol Hill Club most nights the House is in session.
Blunt is every bit as married, as it were, into the lobbying culture as Boehner. More important, Blunt is part of the old regime. He can praise the Speaker’s undefined “lobbying reform” all day long, but that does not change the fact that he is in the unenviable position of being an incumbent running in a campaign that demands change. In short, he is running against the capital from the Capitol.
The Hotline senses real rumblings of reform from the GOP conference, and thinks this could influence a tight Blunt/Boehner race:
If Blunt’s lead widens and he can establish a sense of inevitability, all this might not matter. But if there are enough members withholding their vote — and not just withholding their public commitment — these reformers may play a pivotal role in deciding the course of the House GOP and the Congress.
Why? Because it would mean that when the candidates come calling (remember, both will likely make their pitch before the RSC and the Tuesday Group) on these members at the end of a tight race, both Boehner and Blunt will have to pledge fealty to some real measure of reform to get the 116.