Freshman House Republicans Need Some Good Discernment

This morning’s Politico has an article on the number of leadership posts that the incoming class of 2010 is demanding be set aside for freshmen. Two slots on the Elected Leadership Committee (ELC), which basically means they will sit at the leadership table and participate in the discussion, one class president (largely irrelevant), and importantly, two coveted slots on the Steering Committee which makes committee assignments and decides chairmanship races. These two steering slots need to be filled with hard core conservatives who can be trusted to not just go along with whatever decision Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor make. And currently, the Appropriations Committee controls too much of the committee (Jerry Lewis, Hal Rogers, Ken Calvert, Steve LaTourette, Tom Cole, etc.), and this cannot be expanded.Specifically, Politico mentions that Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi is interested in serving on the steering committee. This cannot happen. Nunnelee chaired the Appropriations Committee in the Mississippi State Senate, and looks to be the second coming of Thad Cochran. Once an old school appropriator, always an appropriator, and the burden is on Nunnelee to prove that he will be different at the federal level. Politico does not mention Jeff Denham of California as being interested, but I could see this being the very type of position he would be interested in. Denham would be terrible on the committee, blending in as a conservative publicly and taking the leadership line privately. He was a real problem in the State Senate.Others of concern for any of these positions: Bob Dold, Charlie Bass (heaven help us!), Steve Womack, and bank lobbying tax hiker Steve Stivers. Who can be trusted on this most insider-of-insider committees? Tom Graves (he should be considered a freshman), Jeff Duncan, Justin Amash, Renee Ellmers, Tim Huelskamp, and Allen West for starters. The class of 2010 are right to be operating as a block, but they need to be discerning within their ranks as to who is the real deal and not to vote for them just because they’re nice or articulate or good looking or funny or whatever other ridiculous consideration these popularity contests come down to.Reform of the Steering Committee is Fundamental; each member should get one vote. But it also matters who the members are. The class of 2010 need to make their votes count.




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