The shakeup in the House
The story, of course, is not what I said, but what Hastert said. Before a meeting of the Republican caucus, Hastert was giving the title to Dreier, leapfrogging him over Blunt, the 3rd in command. To sweeten the deal, he hinted that Blunt would get more responsibilities along the way.
After the caucus, Blunt was the new Majority leader and Dreier was sharing some responsibilities.
Publius calls the internal struggle a battle between the Shays-iites and the Sensenbrunnis, an apt analogy. Whether this is the long arm of Tom Delay, propping up a former recipient of ARMPAC money over an non-recipient, or a reaction against Dreier's ambiguous sexuality, or Blunt throwing his own weight around, I can't say, and it appears that those who can say, haven't.
The story that's interesting here is that the #3 man in the party was able to beat out the machinations of the #1. The theory was that, by promoting the relatively weak Dreier, the Majority Leader's seat would be kept warm, but easily vacated after Delay's stint in a Texas prison.
But Blunt decided to seize the prize, pushing aside not only Dreier (who has bucked the conservatives on various issues) but Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House.
- Does this mean Hastert is weaker than anyone really thought? (Which is pretty weak!)
- Does this mean Delay will have a harder time getting his seat back as Majority Leader?
- or does it suggest that Blunt doesn't think Delay will be back for a while?
It's worth noting that Blunt's campaign finances are tied in with TRMPAC, the PAC whose illegal activities got Delay in hot water.