The Corner

John Fund On House Race

From Political Diary:

Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt, who has served in that capacity since Mr. DeLay stepped down last year to fight a Texas ethics indictment, is a no-nonsense legislative mechanic. He’s been actively campaigning for the permanent post by telling fellow Republicans that he can do the best job of passing legislation on the floor in the teeth of united Democratic opposition. Mr. Blunt has no clear ideology of his own. Hailing from the “Show Me” state of Missouri, he’s known to keep his counsel and not prematurely reveal his position on issues. However, he is well known among members for his belief that attempts to rein in Congressional pork-barrel projects (such as the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska) are misguided and naïve efforts at reform.

Ohio Rep. John Boehner, who chairs the House Education Committee, is likely to run as someone who can maintain good relationships with the business community’s lobbyists but at the same time place some limits on Congress’s appetite for pork. He has traditionally spoken out against “earmarks,” which are individual projects for members that are often quietly inserted in late-night conference reports on legislation.

California Rep. Jerry Lewis, the powerful Appropriations Committee chairman, is unlikely to wave a reform banner on spending as part of any campaign he might mount for Majority Leader. He also may have the wrong image for the party at a time when scandals have focused a spotlight on Congressional excesses. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that he has steered hundreds of millions in federal funds to clients of lobbyist Bill Lowery, a former Congressman who is so close to Mr. Lewis that they have exchanged key staff members, “making their offices so intermingled that they seem to be extensions of each other.”

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

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