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Did Republicans Wimp Out by Electing Boehner?

When word came yesterday that John Boehner defeated Roy Blunt to become Majority Leader, most conservative bloggers were quick to jump on the Boehner bandwagon.

As usual, I see things a little differently. Frankly, I’m under-whelmed.

Aside from moving the party decidedly to the right, a Shadegg victory would have sent a dramatic message to the country — and given Republicans a much-needed image change. Though Americans are traditionally conservative regarding change, it is a general rule that a predecessor will do better if he is strong where you are weak.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were really a response to Nixon. Then, Ronald Reagan was the antithesis to Carter’s weakness. And in the House, Dennis Hastert was the laid-back answer to an aggressive Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Of course, while the American people can demand some stark changes at the ballot box, the selection of a Majority Leader is, by definition, done by those who are out-of-touch with the common man.

Instead of seizing the day, Republicans have opted for a milquetoast compromise.

What is more, while there is no way of knowing whether the Abramoff imbroglio will lead to more scandal, Republicans have missed a golden opportunity to inoculate themselves from the attacks.

But not only does this move seem wrong to me, as a Republican, I think Boehner may look back at this as a pyrrhic victory. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

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Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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