The Corner

Blunt Profile…

in St. Louis-Dispatch today. Here’s a representative out-take:

Supporters and detractors alike say Blunt has been masterful at the whip’s job, in large part because he will listen endlessly to each lawmaker’s concerns and use gentle persuasion, rather than threats or coercion, to line up the votes he needs.

“He always gives me space when I’m wrestling with decisions,” said Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., a Blunt backer. “He’s not a browbeater.”

As for Blunt’s personal politics, Foley said: “He’s a conservative, but he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. He wants the business of the House to come first. . . . He likes to win and he makes certain that we do.”

Blunt has eked out some whisker-thin victories on bills that pundits had declared all but dead, including a plan to trim nearly $50 billion in federal spending and a 217-215 vote on a trade pact last summer.

But Blunt’s emphasis on process over politics hasn’t won over some Republicans who are hungry for wholesale change.

“There isn’t much of a sense that you know what Roy stands for, that there’s a bedrock principle that guides him,” said one Republican lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“He likes to get things done, to run an efficient, tight ship,” continued this lawmaker. “In order to get the votes (for the leadership job), he’s relied more on personal relationships than saying, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do differently, here’s my reform agenda.’”

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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