Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Lowdown on Shadegg

Arizona Representative John Shadegg, a member of the 1994 "Contract with America" class, has thrown his hat in the ring to run for House Majority Leader after Tom DeLay formally relinquished his desire to get regain the position in the wake of his ethics mess.

I have to say, I haven't heard much of this guy, but what is coming out seems good. He is a staunch conservative that I probably wouldn't agree with some issues, but his approach and tactics make him the standout over the others running, Roy Blunt of Missouri and John Boehner of Ohio. Blogger Stacy Holmstedt wrote in Tuesday's Arizona Republic why Mr. Shadegg should be majority leader:

1. He's the man behind the GOP's Unity Dinners, which have sought to build consensus between moderates and conservatives on issues like Social Security and immigration. From many reports, they're working.

2. He has refused highway pork for his own district, showing that he walks the walk on cutting earmarks.

3. He was one of only 12 Republicans to vote against this term's flag desecration bill, legislation that is political pandering at its worst and a waste of floor time.

4. He cares about health care reform, a good strategy for stealing the Democrats' thunder in the upcoming elections. No, his proposals are not going to appease the left, but they're a good start in breaking up the hegemonies that are making health insurance companies fatter by the year. Plus, his high-risk insurance pool legislation passed both the House and Senate this term, showing that he has efficacy.

5. Integrity. There's been so much easy media hay to make out of the immigration issue . . . and Shadegg has stayed out of it. That shows class.

Those all seem like good reasons to me, especially his willingness to tackle health care reform. I'm also impressed by his seeming willingness to work with moderates in the party instead of treating them like outcasts. Today's editorial in the Republic tells the GOP not to be fools and ignore this "gift:"

Arizona's Shadegg is one of the last revolutionaries standing from the insurgency-minded GOP Class of '94, the one that argued for smaller government, lower taxes and a newfound sense of ethics.

Like them or not, the principles Shadegg arrived with in Washington are the same ones he espouses today. Shadegg's efforts to combat skyrocketing health care costs by infusing free-market reforms should have made him a star in his party all by themselves.

What's more, he is articulate, well-liked on both sides of the aisle and, as chairman of the conservative-minded Republican Study Committee, he already holds a lofty position in House leadership. Best of all, he has never met disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Repeat: Shadegg has never met Jack Abramoff.

They continue:

the same party that once hailed the tenets of the "Contract with America" today judges Shadegg, one of the last remaining advocates of that contract, an outsider. He is a conservative-minded "underdog" in the race to lead his party members in the House of Representatives. Can there be starker evidence than this to explain why Republicans are in the ethical fix they find themselves in today?

Actually, yes.

Republican abandonment of smaller-government principles only partially explains the current mess. Their political road to perdition - the nasty taint of ties to manipulating lobbyists; the corruption-enhancing business of "earmarking" billion-dollar goodies to each other - is far uglier in the pubic eye than the ephemeral consequence of those scandals: the loss of their cost-cutting spirit.

I don't know enough of Shadegg to say he should be the choice, but the fact that he seems to be untainted from the recent scandals and laspes in judgement that have plauged the GOP, makes me think that Republicans in the House should take a long, hard look at him if they are really serious about reform. If they pass him up? Well, I'll let the Republic finish this post:

Shadegg constitutes a gift to his fellow GOP members of Congress. They may not deserve it. They may never truly appreciate what benefits it brings. But they will be damned fools not to open it.

1 comment:

Porkopolis said...

Shadegg has a lot of explaining to do on his relationship with lobbyists.