Up until a few weeks ago, if you had asked me if I cared about who the House Majority Leader was for the Republicans, I would have looked at you like you had two heads. Sure, I’m politically wonky, but internal GOP leadership struggles? Please.
But that’s because I was being a bit of an idiot, and more to the point, not paying enough attention to the genuine battle over reform that is playing out in the leadership race. I’m not a diehard GOP partisan, and I don’t think of the Good of the Party as a goal in itself. But I do believe in limited government; in expanding transparency and openness in the functioning of Congress; in limiting the power of lobbyists and raising the power of individual citizens. And of course, I believe in the corrupting influence of “pork” earmarks, and the need to clean up both those small fiscal disasters, as well as the larger budgety issues weighing down our national finances.
The Majority Leader race is turning out to be a referendum on exactly these principles. In one corner, as the frontrunner, you have Roy Blunt, who took up the reigns from Tom Delay and whose campaign slogan might as well be “business as usual”. And on the other end of the spectrum, John Shadegg, who is leading a small but growing revolt among members who recognize that for the good of the GOP, and of the Congress and nation, it’s time for real change, and real reform. (Somewhere in the middle is John Boehner.)
I don’t warm to politicans all that easily. But Shadegg, with a 97% rating from Citizen’s Against Government Waste on pork issues, impressed me with his anti-pork credentials. And his answers to our questions on policy and reform were good ones, showing not just a grudging acceptance of the need for a reform, but a real passion for it. And lastly, if intangibly: listening to the way he handled himself on the blogger call, I just plain liked the guy. He spoke candidly and openly; seemed honestly interested in answering questions, and sincerely committed to the ideas he was championing.
As Glenn points out in his own post in support of Shadegg, it is pretentious for a blogger to declare an “endorsement”, especially for a leadership race in which nobody but Congressmen can vote. But for whatever it’s worth, Shadegg has my endorsement, and my support.
It isn’t my support that Shadegg needs, however. He needs Representatives, and most particularly: he needs the members of the Republican Study Committee, the conference of diehard conservative Republicans which he once chaired — and he needs all of them. Many RSC members endorsed Roy Blunt before Shadegg entered the race, but have not yet publicly committed to support their former leader.
Even as somewhat of an outsider to hardcore conservative activism, I can see how baffling it is for RSC members to not be supporting Shadegg as the standard-bearer for limited government and reform at this crucial time. And if you’re equally confused, there’s something you can do.
The list below shows RSC members who are currently stated as endorsing Roy Blunt, along with their DC and district office numbers. Pick up the phone, give them a call, and urge them to give Shadegg their support. Especially if you are in their state, or even better, their district.
The next few weeks may well determine both the course of the Republican party for years to come, and the chances for real and meaningful reform in the way Congress does about business. If you care about either, pick up the phone, and help John Shadegg get the support he needs.
Continue reading “John Shadegg for Majority Leader”