You read it here first before the Christmas Recess that the House GOP was looking to cut the cord on Suspended in Animation Leader Tom DeLay. It was the cocktail chatter at the St. Michael’s Island retreat after Thanksgiving, and it continued throughout the December legislative session.
Rep. John Boehner has been putting himself in position to challenge for the leadership post for more than a year. Sources say that since January 2005, he has been holding weekly strategy sessions with a kitchen cabinet of advisers in Washington to discuss options, map out fundraising trips and commitments that best put him position for a run at leadership. “If we get a vote, we’re ready to go,” says one of the advisers. “We’ve been waiting for this for a while.”
DeLay has a core group of supporters in the House who are pressing Speaker Dennis Hastert to keep DeLay’s chances for a return open. But the Republicans have done such a poor job in combatting attacks by Democrats, that Hastert at this point isn’t in position to do too much. That the White House on Wednesday announced that it was essentially giving away thousands of dollars donated to the Bush campaign by Jack Abramoff and his associates sent a clear message to Hastert and Senate Leader Bill Frist: do what you have to do to get your houses in order.