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Bill Kristol hints at new House leader on FOX News Sunday

Reported by Chrish - January 8, 2006

Today 1/08/06 on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume subbed for host Chris Wallace. It is discombobulating to see Hume swing back and forth between the supposedlyimpartial host's seat and the advocacy chair of a panelist. In today's case, with Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer on the panel the effect was 3-2 Republican, with Mara Liasson and Juan Williams sitting in for Democrats.

The first panel segment dealt with Tom DeLay's decision to remove himself from the House Majority Leader position discussion, opening the way for a new leader to be selected.

(FYI:In the news portion of the show Hume identified three possible contenders: Missour Rep. Roy Blunt (whose young uber-conservative son Matt is the Governor of Missouri, an election swing state); Ohio Rep. John Boehner (from another critical state in an election year); and California Rep. Jerry Lewis, whose state's electoral votes have been frustrating Republicans for years.)

First, though, there was some diminishing of the scandal to be done. Krauthammer said that it was a bump in the road, that the Democrats characterization of a Republican "culture of corruption" wouldn't stick since DeLay, a large target, is essentially out of the picture, and that (all together now) everybody does it: "it's harder to see how what he (Abramoff) did with Republicans Congressmen was different from what generally is done in lobbying in Washington, so it's not a slam dunk."

Mara Liasson said it was the end of an era of remarkable discipline and agrees that his stepping down removes one of the main poster boys for the "culture of corruption" charges (comment: but fails to remind viewers about Frist, Ney, Cunningham, Roland, Giordano, the rampant cronyism etc.).

Bill Kristol weighed in, saying every good cause starts as a movement, degenerates into a business, and winds up a racket, and that's what happened to Jack Abramoff . Poor Jack came to Washington to advance the Reagan ideology. At this point Hume broke in to give talking points, er, background on Abramoff, "the lobbbyist who pleaded guilty this week to a set of charges related to two things, principally to the way he allegedly bilked his clients (his emphasis) out of huges sums of money; secondary aspect of this is a conspiracy on a number of things, one of them being to in effect bribe members of Congress." Comment: diminish, diminish, diminish. He followed with a flip remark about Abramoff's need for a better wardrobe consultant (costumer), all laughed, and that dreadful seriousness was gone on a round of chuckles. Bravo, Brit. Save all that gravitas for a New York Times screw-up.

Kristol got back to DeLay, saying he will be missed for his effectiveness, but the Republicans need to get fresh blood in there. He gave a nod to Blunt (whom he called Ray - fuggedaboudit, Roy; no endorsement from Kristol there.) and Boehner but recommended "a fresh face there, someone like Mike Pence, the young, very conservative, uh, not very conservative, conservative, and aggressive and articulate Congressman from Indiana, someone to come in and put a fresh face on the Republican majority in the House." Looking at Pence's I'd say Kristol's initial characterization of Pence was an inadvertant truth. Hume said anyone would be a fresh face and asked do Republicans need someone who looks good or who is effective, and Kristol said they need to invoke 1994 (comment: rather than, say 1984? ) and focus again on bringing reform to Washington. He infered that Republicans need someone who will do good (for the country) rather than do well (for himself.) He said Pence or John Shadegg of Arizona may be the type to re-sieze the mantle of reformers. A quick look at Shadegg's website reveals that he announced the Patients health care REFORM Act, and just three weeks ago introduced legislation to disallow pensions for Congressmen convicted of taking bribes. Apparently they've been getting all their ducks in a row before the inevitable fall of the Hammer....

Comment: This talk of "fresh faces" and "outsiders" means someone relatively unknown to the American people but well-known to and approved by the current Republican cabal. They'll quickly install an innocuous-seeming person whom they have been grooming and courting, and his gratitude will be expressed with his loyalty to them that brung him. He will do good for his party and their agenda, and presumable do pretty well for himself too.

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