John Shadegg just called. He says he is “aggressively” canvassing the conference to gauge the level of support for his potential candidacy and his ideas. He sounds like he is genuinely wrestling with the decision.
“The bottom line is that I was reticent to get into this race from the get-go,” he says. People have told “me it would be a big leap from the Republican Policy Committee to Majority Leader, and they’re right.” He says of Blunt and Boehner, “I never figured that I could out-whip either of those guys.” His interest in the race, he maintains, stems from “more of an agenda than a personal candidacy.”
He wants the conference to adopt an agenda of conservative reform, to get back to its core principles. “I personally believe that we need pretty radical change,” he says. “We need to ferret out anyone embroiled in this mess and any practices that contributed to it. We need to be taking the initiative to get back to our core principles. We need to shrink the size of government, not grow it. We need to reform government, not manage it.”
As for his decision whether or not to run, he says he’s “examining what the sentiment is in the conference.” Even if he has an uphill fight, he muses, “maybe I should carry this standard forward.” He recalls the experience of fellow Arizonan Barry Goldwater, whose long-shot campaign had a broader influence: “Some say he lost the campaign, but won the war.” Stay tuned…