Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Election Thoughts

Assuming Montana and Virginia stay as they are - and both Tester and Webb win - then in all important ways, it is 1994 again. The voters will have dispatched well-entrenched leadership in both Houses because of anger at the President and the imperial Congress.

When that happened, the new leadership set the agenda and the President reacted. The President even had to defend his relevance. Is that where we are headed this time?

Nancy Pelosi has a specific agenda, even if it's not the Contract With America. (See it here). Is President Bush going to sit back and see what the Democrats do, and then start 'triangulating?'

With regard to the new Republican leadership in the House, there's a lot of talk about whether there is a place for John Boehner. I think the answer is likely to be 'yes.' He may not be Minority Leader, because the conference clearly recognizes the importance of having a reformist conservative as their leader, and he doesn't seem to fit that bill. However, the President and Congressional Republicans will still try to enact priorities, and for that they will need someone who can (for lack of a better term) 'make deals.' That means someone like Boehner.

The President and the Republican Minority will probably never enact a priority by combining with conservative Democrats and winning a floor vote over the opposition of the Democratic leadership. The House simply does not work that way. When they do 'win' it will be because the Democratic leadership sees such an alliance forming, and changes its approach. That means you need someone who can negotiate with moderate House Democrats, influence the White House (and convey veto threats), and forge alliances. That's probably not something that a conservative firebrand can do (or would want to do).

So will someone like John Boehner stay in the House Republican leadership? Absolutely. Will it be Boehner? Probably - unless you have a better candidate. Will he be Minority Leader? Probably not.

Just my thoughts.

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