The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

While the position of 'Reform-minded Republican' is getting tougher and tougher to fill these days, there at least some who are auditioning for the job:

As Blunt and Boehner lobbied hard this week for votes, reform-minded Republicans urged colleagues to wait until the candidates presented proposals to restore public trust.

"It is no secret that over the past several months our reputation as a governing majority has taken a beating," Rep. Jeff Flake said in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

Flake, R-Ariz., called on Hastert to push lobbying reform and eliminate congressional earmarks in spending bills to "restore public confidence."

Local Congressmen Lamar Smith and Henry Bonilla, however, are not in that group:

House Republicans from Texas scheduled a meeting in Dallas today to discuss whether they will vote en bloc for one of two candidates seeking to replace Rep. Tom DeLay as majority leader.

Several have thrown their support behind Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who became acting majority leader after DeLay, R-Sugar Land, was indicted on money laundering charges.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, also is seeking the position, which will be decided when Congress returns Jan. 31 from its Christmas recess.

"I have committed to Roy and I am going to try to persuade most of the delegation to go with Roy Blunt," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, a senior Republican member of the state's congressional delegation.

DeLay has told GOP colleagues that he will remain neutral in the race. However, Blunt has enjoyed a close relationship with the Sugar Land lawmaker and Boehner has not.


Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, who serves in the Republican whip organization under Blunt, said he, too, would support the acting majority leader's bid to make the post permanent.

And, while Smith wants to take some additional reform steps in the US House- this coming from the same man who has given $10,000 to Tom Delay's defense fund and as a member of the House Ethics committee voted to weaken the ethics rules to temporarily keep Tom Delay as House Majority leader- Bonilla does not:

Republicans have become more sensitive to the issue since the plea agreement by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has agreed to cooperate with federal agents investigating congressional corruption.

"What we had with the Abramoff situation is a crook who was out of control," Bonilla said.

Abramoff will be punished severely, Bonilla said.

"The system worked. The laws are already in place."

Yeah, after years of bribery and corruption the system worked! Of course, this is the same Henry Bonilla who refuses to return a $1,000 contribution given to him by one of Abramoff's clients. Yup, meet the new boss- same as the old boss.