Rep. Charles Bass–a moderate Republican from New Hampshire–publicly announced his support for John Shadegg for House majority leader this week, demonstrating that Shadegg’s appeal extends beyond intellectual conservatives. Rep. Bass told me today that as far as he is concerned, “philosophically all three candidates are alike,” but that he is backing Shadegg because he’s “not part of the existing structure, not the incumbent, not the ‘company man.’”
“We need a change in our operating manual,” Bass said, “and I think John Shadegg is most likely to be aggressive in supporting some changes like accountability in earmarks.” Bass backs reforms like having a requirement that no bill be brought to the floor without being posted online for at least 72 hours. Such a reform would end the practice of inserting ridiculous earmarks right before a vote.
When these midnight earmarks are put in at the last minute, the fact that we’re not told about them is most deceiving to Republicans, not to the Democrats. They’re not voting for any of these bills anyway. I hate reading in the papers the next day that I’ve voted for a bill that included some foolish thing and then having to explain to my constituents that I didn’t know it was in there.
I think John Shadegg would be willing to stand up to the big committee chairmen and tell them we’re not going to have this foolishness anymore. He’s the only one who’s got a long record of supporting this kind of thing.
Bass thinks the race is still competitive. “If either of these candidates really had the votes, they would have published the names and the race would be over, but it hasn’t happened.” Bass also says that Shadegg has demonstrated his commitment to moderate Republicans by holding “unity dinners” on divisive topics like immigration when he was chair of the Republican Policy Committee.
“Shadegg has agreed that he’s going to bring moderates into his sphere and have them be a part of making our conference as unified as possible,” Bass said. “I think his support is growing.”