The Hill corrects its earlier report: apparently, GOP leaders figured out their clerical error on the first ballot, so didn't have to recast. Blunt only garnered 110 on the first go-'round, Boehner took 79, Shadegg 40 and Jim Ryun 2. Shadegg dropped out before the second ballot.
The Spectacle Blog
It's great news. By which I mean it's great news Blunt lost. His overly confident approach was disgusting -- the guy wouldn't answer the Republican Study Committee's questionnaire, wouldn't debate the other guys. He was bereft of ideas, and thought projecting a front-runner status would substitute.
It's a good day for the House.
Boehner's it, but it's Blunt everyone will still be looking at. No word yet on whether Blunt intends to continue as Whip, though the assumption is that he's as good as his word on his staying around.
Boehner's election is good news for the caucus, particularly in an election year. He carries none of Blunt's baggage, and still gives the GOP a solid fundraiser to help the party.
122-109. Conceivable translation: Blunt's people cut for Shadegg; Shadegg's people cut for Boehner. FOX News is reporting that Shadegg dropped out after the first ballot. But how does this square with the snafu?
The Hill's Patrick O'Connor reports in an email that Caucus chairman Deborah Pryce threw out the first ballot of the House leadership election "after members discovered an error in the number of ballots received compared to the number of members present in the room." Pryce thinks it was a clerical error, and members did not learn the results of the first ballot.
As the reviews of the President's SOTU speech come in, a clear distinction is being drawn between the political points he scored against foolish Democrats and the alarmingly unconservative substance of his some of his remarks. Three years ago Bush was haunted by the "16 words" included in his address about Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium in Africa. This time five little words may come back to haunt him: "America is addicted to oil."
When a President suggests that his own country is afflicted with a moral or genetic flaw, he's basically pointing the finger of blame at the citizenry. Jimmy Carter tried that in his famous "malaise" speech, and look where it got him. Will the "addicted" comment go down as Bush's "malaise" moment?
Of course all the usual suspects are now free to revive the old nostrums. My favorite response so far is the lead letter in today's New York Times correspondence section, especially this:
The ejections of Cindy Sheehan and Mrs. C.W. Bill Young (that's Beverly to Rep. Young) from the House chamber during the State of the Union Address has provoked a great deal of self-righteous chest-thumping, on the front page of the Post no less.
Such infantile behavior is expected from Mother Sheehan, as RET writes in his column today. But I expect more class from Republicans. Not the Congressman Young or his wife. She's still calling Terrance W. Gainer, Capitol Chief of Police, an "idiot." The Post reports that she had "saltier" words for him Tuesday night. Young is so kind as not to call for Gainer's head, but he wouldn't rule out legal action. What a gentleman.
As of 10 this morning, it remains unclear who is standing where in the race for House Majority Leader. The team of Rep. Roy Blunt insists they have at least 100 backers locked in, but no one is certain of a number that still remains in flux.
In order to get 100, Blunt last night identified Rep. Wayne Gilchrist as a supporter. But Gilchrist has been a Rep. John Boehner backer up until now.
The smart money, according to GOP caucus members, remains on a second ballot that has Boehner emerging as the leader. That said, Blunt's performance yesterday, handing the conservative Republican Study Group a legislative win in the spending wars, may have helped him more than his poor performance at the caucus retreat earlier this week.