Republican or Democrat, American or foreign, the politicos are fine subjects for speculation, rumination and a bit of derision.
Replacing Tom Delay
Inside the Beltway is abuzz with speculation about who might replace Tom Delay as House Majority Leader. Delay recently announced his intention to step down from that position. Seems the GOP feels Delay has too much political baggage, what with the Abramoff thing brewing and his questionable indictment in Texas.
Let's review the speculative choices from various and sundry pundits across the fruited plains.
The Leading Candidate To Replace Delay
"Mr. Blunt has no clear ideology of his own. ... 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 naive efforts at reform."
- John Fund, Political Diary, 1/9/05
Blunt is a safe choice and John Fund does consider him the "leading candidate". However that bit about Blunt's consideration of pork elimination to be naïve will hurt him with the Republican base.
The "Avis" Candidate (#2 But Trying Harder)
"Rep. John A. Boehner's vote last month against a bill cracking down on illegal immigration is sending 'tremors' through the House Republican Conference as the Ohio lawmaker pushes his candidacy for House majority leader.
- Washington Times, 1/11/06
Second choice would be Boehner as his name has been bandied about frequently. The Republican base will love his stand on immigration, a cause the base believes congress does not take seriously enough.
The Longshot Candidate
" But a long shot also potentially in the running hails from Indiana's 6th district, Congressman Mike Pence. ... A Columbus native and former radio talk show host, Pence was elected to Congress in 2000. While Delay was known as the 'hammer for keeping Republicans in line,' Pence has gained a reputation as a 'national spokesman' for conservative issues."
- Eyewitness News in Indianapolis, 1/8/05
Frankly I've never heard of Mike Pence and certainly have never considered him a spokesman for conservative issues. Note that the medium suggesting Pence is an Indiana News station.
The Dark Horse Candidate
"A dark-horse candidate (for House Majority Leader) who might unite younger conservatives around his campaign is Arizona Rep. John Shaddegg. A member of the GOP leadership team as chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, Mr. Shaddegg grew up in Arizona as the son of a top adviser to Barry Goldwater."