A More Conservative Minority? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A More Conservative Minority?
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After the 2006 elections, some conservatives offered this by way of consolation — the Republican membership in Congress may be smaller, but at least in the House those who remain are more conservative. A lot of the low-hanging fruit, it was argued, was in the more moderate districts the Democrats picked off. If that was true, it didn’t have much of an impact, aside maybe from the energy debate this summer.

Now after further losses in 2008, there are indications that the Republican remnant in the House is more conservative and it might — I emphasize “might” — mean something. Every member of the leadership below Eric Cantor is a member of the Republican Study Committe, with Mike Pence chairing the conference. John Boehner has tapped Jeb Hensarling, a bailout opponent, to help oversee how the bailout funds are spent. Boenher and Cantor have backed an earmarks moratorium pending some meaningful reform of the process.

The picture is a little murkier in the Senate, where the minority has more power. Moderate Republicans like Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and newly re-elected Susan Collins will have a lot of influence, assuming the Democrats remain below 60 seats, even if Mitch McConnell’s leadership team is reasonably conservative. But even though the House has less ability to block Obama administration initiatives, it has a long history of making trouble for those in power.

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