Monday, November 13, 2006

GOP adrift?

Taken in conjunction with the post just below this one on Mel Martinez, it's starting to seem like Republicans aren't sure what to do.

The depleted House Republican caucus, a minority in the next Congress, convenes in the Capitol at 8 a.m. Friday on the brink of committing an act of supreme irrationality. The House members blame their leadership for their tasting the bitter dregs of defeat. Yet the consensus so far is that, in secret ballot, they will reelect some or all of those leaders.

In private conversation, Republican members of Congress blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their midterm election debacle. Yet either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday.

You know it's especially bad when conservatives start accusing each other of drinking Kool-Aid:

That reluctance is typified by Rep. Eric Cantor, a 43-year-old third-term congressman from Richmond who has been his party's chief deputy whip for four years since being appointed by Blunt after only two years in the House. His voting record is solidly conservative, and he belongs to the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC). At the same time, Cantor is well regarded in all sectors of the party, and members see him as the principled kind of rising politician that Republicans desperately need.

But Cantor is not seizing this post-election moment to seek an elected leadership position. On the contrary, he has been supporting Blunt for reelection as whip out of loyalty to his mentor and patron. Bright and able though he is, Cantor has drunk the Kool-Aid in viewing the Republican Party as a private club where personal loyalties must transcend all else.

What's going on? Are Republicans simply out of ideas? Or do they reject the notion that the election changed anything?




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