More on the significance of Shaddegg, from John Fund:
“We’re going to find out whether Republicans have an appetite for a substantial reform agenda against pork spending, out-of-control budgets and deal-making politics as usual in this town.” Those were the words that conservative Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona used when he announced his 11th-hour candidacy for the House Republican leader’s slot vacated by Tom DeLay. Mr. Shadegg’s entry means that conservatives and disgruntled moderates will have a horse in the leadership race after all. Said one House conservative, “John’s like Burt Reynolds in ‘The Longest Yard.’ He’s throwing caution into the wind, buckling his football helmet chin strap, and rushing on to the field in the fourth quarter to try to save the GOP team from an ugly defeat in the elections this November.”
To be sure, Mr. Shadegg has the look of a decided underdog. He will take on party heavyweights John Boehner of Ohio and the acting leader, Roy Blunt of Missouri. But for many of the new-generation, reform-minded House Republicans, Mr. Blunt is seen as too shackled to the K Street/DeLay money machine to clean up the abuses of power that taint the party. He’s an unapologetic supporter of earmarks (at least he’s honest!) and was the whip who strong-armed a handful of conservatives to vote for the Medicare prescription drug bill with its multitrillion-dollar price tag. Mr. Blunt has sprinted into the early lead with a pitch that is pure horse-trading power politics–of the kind that Republicans once denounced and that, thankfully, still repels some in the caucus. If he wins, the leadership team will be composed of the DeLay machine, minus only Mr. DeLay. Where the policy vision and voice for political reform will come from is anyone’s guess. The Pelosi Democrats certainly won’t complain.
There’s one thing Fund misses, though, and it’s a big one:
Mr. Boehner, who has Sinatra good looks and style, is regarded as right-of-center on the ideological spectrum, but has never been active in the conservative movement. To his credit, he’s pledged to dredge the algae-filled swamp of federal spending. In an interview last week, he derided the pork that keeps getting buried in appropriations bills. “We’ve become addicted to earmarks as if it were opium,” he complained. Mr. Boehner will also resist the xenophobic anti-immigrant streak that has invaded the party, which is the surest course for the GOP to alienate Asian and Hispanic voters, slow down the economy, and land the party back in the minority.
For “xenophobic anti-immigration streak,” a mindlessly dismissive slur if ever I heard one, substitute “perfectly justified concern over securing our country’s porous borders in an age of ruthless global terrorism.” I have never yet met a single living soul who was anti-immigration. I have, however, met plenty who think this country’s government ought to at least pretend that we do indeed have borders, and that the legal immigration process ought not be undermined by ignoring their existence. Fund’s smear attempt smells very Left-ish and, as such, is unworthy of him.
That “turned pork into haute cuisine” line is just priceless, though.
Update! Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. John Fund didn’t write this piece, Stephen Moore did. First I screw up the Italian in the title below, now this. I must be going senile at last. Next I’ll be voting Democrat or something, who knows.
Updated update! Oh, I got it now — I had this Fund op-ed open in another tab and got ’em mixed up. It’s worth a look too, actually, but from here on out I’m gonna just blame Firefox for boners like this.
Update to the updated update! NRO’s on board, and they make a good case: “He is a decided underdog, and is taking a personal risk…But fortune favors the bold, and so do we.” That’s the spirit, fellas.