Bloggers Take Center Stage in Majority Leader’s Race

Another indication bloggers are gaining clout in Washington, D.C.: They scored exclusive interviews with the three candidates for House majority leader. That’s right, Reps. Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.), John Boehner (R.-Ohio) and John Shadegg (R.-Ariz.) all made time for these

Here’s a report from N.Z. Bear of The Truth Laid Bear:

This past Thursday, January 19th, the election race for House Majority Leader made history when all three candidates conducted separate conference calls with Internet bloggers. Each candidate spent time presenting their proposals for reform, and took questions from the assembled bloggers on a wide range of issues including spending/earmark reform, immigration, Medicare, national security, and lobbying reform.

The complete audio recordings of the calls, as well as written transcripts, are posted at The Truth Laid Bear’s main GOP leadership page. In addition, the candidate’s answers have been parsed and organized so that readers can review, side-by-side, all three candidates answers to specific reform and policy questions.

Notable in the calls was a broad consensus among the candidates on the need to implement serious and dramatic reform measures:

  • All three candidates said they would support a measure to require ‘earmarks’ be identified by the name of the suggesting member of Congress
  • All three candidates endorsed the application of the Freedom of Information Act to Congress (to which it currently does not apply), and the suggestion that all legislation be posted on the Internet for public review and comment 72 hours prior to a vote
  • In addition, the candidates expressed dissatisfaction with the free-speech limitations imposed by McCain-Feingold, and generally agreed that reforms are needed in the area of subsidized travel for Congress.

The conference calls grew in part from a “Joint Appeal” letter issued on January 13th, which called on the House GOP leadership to implement “sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations”, and “major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.” The letter was ‘signed’ by over twenty top-tier center and right leaning bloggers including Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, La Shawn Barber, and John Hinderaker.