February 16, 2006
There is talk on Capitol Hill of fusing Shadeggâ€™s first-principles conservatism and the caucus of like-minded members he represents to the new House leadership team. According to Hill sources, conservatives are looking for a way to incorporate Shadegg into the House leadership structure in an unelected, informal capacity. The term, “Assistant Majority Leader” has been used.
This informal position would be a political winner for the new House leadership team. By elevating Shadegg, leadership would signal to a growing and energetic portion of the caucus that the reform message – and the ideas and proposals contained therein – will not only be listened to, but acted upon.
Certainly, Boehnerâ€™s election in itself sends that message. But bringing Shadegg in and giving him a seat at the table is a clear signal to Shadeggâ€™s bloc of conservative supporters that their voice is valuable enough to the new leadership that they deserve a representative in the room for the highest level discussions. Not only would this ingratiate conservatives with the new House leadership team, but it has plenty of upside for leadership as well.
Aside from beefing up the new leadershipâ€™s “reform” banner, Shadegg would serve as a valuable conservative temperature gauge. Who knows better how limited government conservatives will react to a piece of legislation than one of their own?
With this sort of talk, one thinks the Republicans may be wising up. It’s been a tough time to be a libertarian over the last few years, because we’ve seen the expansion of government’s scope and budget from the party that supposedly believes in “limited government”. The coalition between libertarians and Republicans over the last 20 years has been a strong component of Republican success. But once the forces of government became aligned, with Republican control of both Congress and the White House, all hell broke loose.
I voted for George Bush in 2004 because I supported his view in the War on Terror, something Kerry certainly didn’t have, and something that Michael Badnarik did not have as well. I voted in 2004 for Republicans for national office, Libertarians for state/local office, because I could not pull the lever for an anti-war candidate.
If we had been in the middle of a peacetime, however, and the choice had come up again, I would have voted for Badnarik, simply as a protest vote, because Bush is the closest thing to a Democrat on domestic policy as you can get without actually switching parties. And the Congress has followed his lead, offering spending bill upon spending bill, racking up deficits out the wazoo.
This could be a strong signal to those of us who believe in limited government that the Republican party is willing to restore our seat at the table, and take us seriously. I think the election of Boehner was a step in the right direction, but giving Shadegg a seat at the table– even if unofficial– will send a very strong signal to those of us desparately hoping all is not lost in the Republican party.
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