I don’t mean to distract from Steny Hoyer’s big victory as House Majority Leader, about which I’ll be writing more shortly. But Republicans are holding their own leadership elections tomorrow in the House–and the results could be pretty damn important for the future of conservatism and the Republican Party.
The races for Minority Leader and Minority Whip pit two establishment, K Street Republicans, incumbents John Boehner and Roy Blunt, against two champions of grassroots, die-hard conservatism, Mike Pence and John Shadegg.
Conservative blogs, magazines and interest groups have enthusiastically backed Pence and Shadegg. “We wish them well in their push to bring fresh blood to the top of their caucus,” National Review recently editorialized. “We think Republican interests would be best served by having at least one member of the top leadership who represents the post-2006 party and whose existence in the leadership depends entirely on the reformist members who are not part of the GOP’s ‘comfortable caucus.'”
Picking Pence and Shadegg would be the type of bold move that could help reinvigorate a Republican Party beset by defeat and corruption. It won’t get them back into the majority, but if nothing else it would fire up a dispirited base. All four candidates are quite conservative. So this debate isn’t so much about ideology as it is about style and MOs. The question now is whether the Republicans want corrupt leaders or principled ones?
We’ll find out tomorrow morning.