DeLay Ends Bid To Regain Post As GOP Leader
Rep. Tom DeLay (Tex.), one of the most powerful and feared Republican leaders in Washington, abandoned his quest to regain his House majority leader post yesterday, bowing to pressure from fellow Republicans worried about the growing corruption and campaign finance scandals linked to his office.
DeLay's announcement in his home town of Sugar Land ends his decade-long tenure as a legislative juggernaut and conservative ideologue who revolutionized the relationship between power and money in Washington. It also cleared the way for a leadership contest that could further shake up the House GOP team going into an uncertain election year. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) said Republicans will choose a new majority leader and other officers the week of Jan. 30, when members return for President Bush's State of the Union address.
On the up side, the front runner for the spot is Roy Blunt, who has quite a few money skeletons in his own closet. Many of Blunt's campaign coffers are tied directly to DeLay. It won't be as easy picking on him as it is DeLay, but the GOP will still retain the shroud of corruption with Blunt as its head.
The Wall Street Journal has an Op-Ed about the continuing problems that will continue to face the GOP if it does not reform itself post haste.
Incumbency Over Ideas
The real House GOP problem isn't about lobbyists so much as it is the atrophying of its principles. As their years in power have stretched on, House Republicans have become more passionate about retaining power than in using that power to change or limit the federal government. Gathering votes for serious policy is difficult and tends to divide a majority. Re-election unites them, however, so the leadership has gradually settled for raising money on K Street and satisfying Beltway interest groups to sustain their incumbency...
As House Republicans consider replacing Mr. DeLay, they need to choose someone who will reinvigorate their commitment to reforming Washington. And this may mean more change than they'd otherwise prefer entering an election year.
Blunt has been very lack luster in his performance as the interim leader thus far. He has been unable to control the House Republicans and has had to take several hits already. I wish him all the luck in being elected leader.