Friday, February 29, 2008

The Boehner chew-out session

House Minority Leader John Boehner had a few choice words for House Republicans who aren't pulling their weight by helping to raise money for Republican Congressional candidates around the country:

Watching Minority Leader John Boehner implore his House colleagues to get off their "dead asses" and help raise money for the struggling National Republican Congressional Committee is a helpful reminder of the importance of morale in determining the balance of power in Congress.

And the Republican leader wasn’t the only lawmaker berating his GOP colleagues to raise more money for the committee’s March 12 fundraising dinner: According to sources in the room, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also used a closed-door session at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday to challenge Republicans to raise more campaign cash.

One reality that press reports of this Tuesday rear-chewing session do not deal with is the fact that the presence of a Republican presidential nominee that the conservative wing of the party-the portion most aptly represented in the Republican Conference in the House-simply does not trust. In spite of the public appearance of kumbuya, many House Republicans don't trust John McCain any more than other conservatives do, and a lot of these folks believe that McCain is going to lose-and they don't want to spend their time going down with a sinking ship. McCain has had an opportunity to rally the base to his side on a couple of occasions and he has failed miserably to do so.

If House Republicans can't get excited about the presidential nominee of the party, it is rather difficult to get excited about raising money for Congressional candidates that are either going to be lemmings for the nominee that-in their hearts-they do not support, or (more likely) the nominee will not support those candidates to the best of his ability.

The Republicans have some outstanding candidates for Congress this year, as well as for State legislatures all over the country, but those conservative candidates won't get the attention that they deserve because the nominee of the party will get the most attention. That is normally the case in a presidential year and wouldn't be a problem-except that this year the nominee is not a conservative.

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