While Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) appears to be the favorite Majority Leader candidate among conservative Web loggers, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) seems to rank somewhere between least favorite and most reviled.
Apparently, Blunt was a real turn-off during a conference call with GOP bloggers last Thursday. Dale Franks of the Libertarian-esque QandA.net Web log, wrote: “I would rather lick fire ants off a stick than see Roy Blunt as Majority Leader. I’m not at the point of making a firm endorsement of either Reps. Shadegg or [John] Boehner [R-Ohio], but the sun will set in a blazing red sky to the east of Casablanca before I’d want Roy Blunt as Majority Leader.”
Franks wrote that Blunt “just outright pissed me off” during the conference call. First, he said, Blunt would only take questions submitted in writing, unlike Shadegg or Boehner during their conference calls on the same day with the GOP bloggers. Therefore, Blunt faced only “softball” questions, Franks said.
Then, the blogger’s blogging continued, Blunt told the conference call participants that he already had the votes locked up, so he sure hoped the bloggers weren’t going to “write or do something that would jeopardize our ability to work together later.”
Franks took that as a threat. Which he didn’t appreciate. So for good measure, he ended his posting with: “I’ll go ahead and write whatever the hell I want to write. In return, if Rep. Blunt doesn’t like it, then he can cry me a river.” (Cue scene in the movie “Race For Majority Leader” of bloggers rowing up the River Blunt.)
Blunt spokeswoman Jessica Boulanger wound up a trademark fast pitch and let loose on the blogger, warning, “Dale Franks should get the soothing balm ready and beware: Fire ants attach themselves to a person by biting with their jaws, then pivoting their heads and stinging from their abdomens in a circular pattern at multiple sites. They tend to attack and sting in great numbers — just like bloggers.”
Can’t Swallow Those Reform Bills. A chief of staff to a prominent House Republican Member is considering formally rallying his colleagues to oppose lobbying reform efforts that would ban staffers outright from letting lobbyists pay for their meals or trips.
For one thing, he says, it’s “insulting” to think that a legislative aide “can be bought with a $50 steak.” He also worries about the risk of losing lower-level aides — legislative assistants, for example, who earn salaries in the neighborhood of $35,000 — to the private sector if their stomachs can’t be satisfied on a government salary.
Bottom line, he says, “if you work on the Hill, you’re gonna take a pay cut. But you’ll get free beers and free meals” if you work those receptions the right way.
Calling both the Democratic and GOP lobbying reform proposals “impractical and unworkable,” the GOP chief of staff said he hopes to circulate a formal letter, perhaps this week, to gauge feedback from his colleagues.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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