Republicans play detective on leadership skirmish leaks

Republicans are supposed to be focusing on the election every minute, every second.

But with Irish bookies already paying out bets that Republicans will take back the House, who are you kidding? Of course Republicans are maneuvering behind the scenes to grab leadership slots, committee chairmanships, plum office space and God knows what else.

Two recent episodes, one in the House and one in the Senate, show GOP officials are keenly watching the news for power plays and backbiting. Often, that means a game of “who leaked?”

When Politico ran as its top story that House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence might be vacating his spot in leadership, for instance, key GOP aides found deep meaning in the timing.

“I’m told by good sources that he has in no way made a decision and will not do so until after the election, so this Politico story clearly came from someone trying to force his hand,” one aide said.

“If you read the Politico story, there is NO NEWS in it. It’s a recap of what everyone already knew (that Pence was pondering). Sooooo, the question is who is powerful enough to convince Politico to run a non-story to force Pence’s hand?   Hmmmmm….” the aide said.

Others filled in the question, saying House Minority Leader John Boehner, who’s standing ready to become the Republican Speaker of the House next January, probably pumped up the issue to get an answer out of Pence on whether he’ll be a part of his team.

But that theory has its critics, too.

“I don’t think it’s in Boehner’s interest to have this play out in public,” said another House GOP aide, “’cause now he’s gonna get asked about who replaces him instead of trying to do this all hush hush.”

Boehner’s office did not offer public comment on the episode. Matt Lloyd, a spokesman for Pence, noted Pence’s campaign stops in states across the country and said Pence “believes that speculating about who will occupy what leadership position in the next Congress is ‘looking past the playoffs’ and out of place.”

A leadership leak whodunit also took place Monday on the Senate side.

Then, the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman tweeted that conservative favorite Sen. Tom Coburn would be serving as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s emissary to incoming freshman GOP senators.

“Republican Senate official: Sen. Tom Coburn will be named liaison to incoming Senate Freshman Republicans in McConnell end run around DeMint,” Weisman tweeted.

If it were true, the announcement would be hugely important. Because Coburn is so well-respected by conservatives, his alliance with McConnell would be a major coup for the minority leader, who faces suspicion from the right wing flank of his caucus.

It would also mitigate the coming hurricane of between six and ten Tea Party or otherwise aggressive conservative senators coming to Washington. Insiders expect the Sharron Angles, Rand Pauls and Ken Bucks of the world to be bulls in the Senate china shop.

  • independentvoter

    someone should drop a dime on the RNC and let them know if they think they didn’t get their guys in this time if they don’t allow a good choice for Speaker they will experience it again next time..

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  • Mean Granny

    We’re not electing republicans so they can keep playing these games. They better do the job we are electing to do, or we’ll be looking at a third party in two years.

    • PolyIndependent

      Why do you think anything is really going to change?? Let’s look at some of the GOP leadership:

      John Boehner first elected in 1991
      Mitch McConnell first elected in 1995
      Tom Coburn first elected in 1995
      Eric Cantor first elected in 1992

      • PolyIndependent

        Sorry, let me correct that:

        John Boehner first elected in 1985
        Mitch McConnell first elected in 1984
        Tom Coburn first elected in 1995
        Eric Cantor first elected in 1992

        • truebearing

          So what? Any other pointless comments you care to share?

  • lht

    McConnell makes Barney Frank look like an MMA fighter, and Boehner is the guy in a bar who is seconds away from bursting into tears and telling you his life story.

    GOP, you can do better than those two.

  • dirtytricksjusttowin

    Republicans please…the concern right now is to stop the socialist agenda. We still need to throw out the Democrats in this election cycle.

    After a couple of years when the situation in our country doesn’t improve with the Republican majority in the house and senate, then we vote out some people.

    We vote out Obama and the Republicans and Democrats who are too concerned with power.

    • scorpioman

      Supposing there actually was a socialist agenda, some might think you have a plan but seeing how you’re transparent about your “dirty tricks to win” I doubt you’ll win anyone over.

    • noonespetgoat

      Voting out the socialists also means voting out a fair number of the old guard Republicans and the leadership.

      • papa1

        Yes! Just as soon as possible.

    • PolyIndependent

      Funny how many of you on this website can’t tell the difference between socialism and corporatism.

      Bank bailouts – investment banks.
      Auto bailouts – auto companies.
      TARP – home lenders

      What in any of that is socialism?? Wake up people.

      • krjohnson

        It’s just nomenclature. Corporatism, socialism, communism, fascism… it doesn’t matter what it *technically* is. It’s wrong.

        • PolyIndependent

          Not even close to simply a case of nomenclature. It’s 100% corporatism, not socialism. Go look up the definitions. And as for the healthcare bill, do you see “single payer” anywhere? It’s not socialism either. You all are stuck on idiotic catch phrases that are nowhere near the truth. Obama lost support from the left because everything he’s done is ANYTHING BUT socialism.

          • truebearing

            Corporatism applies to the unions to, dim wit, and Obama has been giving them huge amounts of money and power. They are leftists.

            Obama took control of huge swaths of the economy with classic Fascist moves. Fascism is a derivitive form of socialism, and it is definitely a form of Statism, which ultimately is the goal of the Progressives. They don’t care how they wrest power away, as long as they end up with all of it.

            Obama and his minions are all anti-capitalist Statists, and that is indisputable.

        • flips

          Socialism would have banned private insurance companies from health care entirely.

          Obama saved them.

          Obama is a capitalist-hugger.

      • independentvoter

        OK even if your correct corporatism you can QUIT or CLOSE .. try QUITTING socialism..

  • rainmaker1145

    Ronald McDonald McConnell for AmeriShill – the new office of the Speaker of the Senate Ruling-Class Establishment Interest. As the President Pro Temp of AmeriShill, Ronald McDonald McConnell will be in charge of making many “steady as she goes,” deals as he can without getting caught by the Tea Parties and the rest of America.

    We’re watching you McConnell. So far, you ain’t doin’ so good…

  • Willys

    Ron Paul for Speaker

    • krjohnson

      Ah… if only…

  • PolyIndependent

    I see the countdown to the GOP leaders showing their true, self-serving colors has began.