Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock


Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict


Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links


Regional News


News Publications

My Unendorsement
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jon and I took part in the conference calls today with the three candidates for House Majority Leader, John Shadegg, John Boehner, and Roy Blunt. These conference calls were organized through the efforts of NZ Bear, and each lasted about half an hour.

I wasn't inclined to endorse a candidate for Majority Leader; however, I certainly have made up my mind on an anti-endorsement Prior to the conference calls, I had told both Jon and McQ that I wasn't inclined to endorse a candidate for Majority Leader, I felt that way for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't know enough about any of these guys to make a choice, and, second, it's really not my business to choose the leadership of the House of Representatives. I mean, even if there was a guy who stood out politically as being libertarian—or, at least, libertarianish—that I liked, that doesn't mean they had the necessary qualities to ride herd on the Republican conference in getting legislation passed.

After listening to all three of these guys today, however, I certainly have made up my mind on an anti-endorsement, however...but let's hold off on that for now.

John Shadegg, who went first, was an impressive guy. Politically, he's probably closest to me in terms of compatibility with my wishes for smaller, less intrusive government—although, I doubt he'd want a government as small as I would like. He's a firmly in the pro-Drug War camp, however, which I think is a pointless waste of time and resources. Otherwise, however, he seemed like a stand-up guy. He was, at times, candid to the point of bluntness about how he thought the Republican leadership had gone astray from the limited government ideals they espoused in the 1994 election. He also came out strongly for increased border security, against bilingual education, and against unfunded federal mandates on the states.

I would rather lick fire ants off a stick than see Roy Blunt as Majority Leader Next up was Rep. Boehner, who was an engaging guy, too. For the most part, he said all the right things. But, yet, there was something...not sneaky...not troubling...just...too glib. When Jon asked him about what policies he would endorse to fix the problems in the house GOP conference, his reply was that he'd unify the conference. Don't get me wrong, I think unity is a wonderful idea, and I am keen for the day when we can all sit down together in front of a big campfire and sing Kum-By-Yah together, but that's not a policy. It is, at best, a way to find consensus that enables one to craft a policy. Nice guy, but he had just a little too much of a politicians smoothness in his answers to suit me. Now, see, I've kind of made Rep. Boehner sound bad, which I don't mean to do. Because he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, who I'm sure would make a fine Majority Leader. Of the two, I think Shadegg comes closest to me politically, but I wouldn't have any heartburn with Majority Leader Boehner running the show.

And then there was Roy Blunt.

After spending a half hour listening to him, I think...let's do I put this...

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. Shaddeg or Boehner, but the sun will set in a blazing red sky to the east of Casablanca before I'd want Roy Blunt as Majority leader.

The first troubling thing about the Blunt conference call was the way it was handled. In the other two calls, the conversation was unmoderated, and we all had chances to get our licks in. We asked candid questions and, for the most part, got equally candid answers. All of the bloggers who were there were part of the group organized by NZ Bear, and the Congressmen had no idea who was gonna be there when he got on the line.

The Blunt people put a stop to that. They required us to email David All, one of Rep. Blunt's staffers, for permission to attend the conference call. Then, Mr. All asked us to submit our questions in writing, and informed us that the call would be moderated. Also, once we were on the line, we had to hit "*1" to be recognized before we could ask a question; otherwise, we were muted. That, though is a technical thing, which is no big deal.

When we got on the line, Rep. Blunt made a statement, part of which I found confusing, because he said that he knew most of us had already endorsed Shadegg, which was news to me. Indeed, one of the email conversations that we've had between the blogger group was whether or not we should provide an endorsement of anybody at all, and the consensus seemed to be that, while some of us might individually do so, as a group we should not. My impression was that most individuals wouldn't be providing an endorsement, either. So, this statement caught me by surprise.

Then, when Rep. Blunt opened the floor for questions, the next surprise was that the first question came from someone from GOP Bloggers. He wasn't a part of our group, i.e., the one organized by NZ Bear. How did he get on the call? This guy then proceeded to throw a softball at Rep Blunt, essentially asking him if those naughty Democrats were just dirty liars for denying that they had anything to do with Jack Abramoff, and was the Congressman going to fight back properly? Then, the next questioner was from WTF? I mean, while Townhall has what is technically a blog, Townhall is nothing more than an organ of the Heritage Institute. And they weren't part of our group either. He tossed another softball at Rep. Blunt, asking why Blunt hadn't gotten support from Conservative icons. Icons like...well...Townhall. And NRO. [Townhall's Tim Chapman has notified me that he objects to my characterization of his question. He should feel free to publicly correct me at Just be sure to get the link URL to QandO right, Tim.—EDF]

So at this point it was obvious that, rather than just talking to our group, which was already organized, Rep. Blunt had pulled in ringers, and, having asked for questions in advance—which I declined to provide, by the way—had screened them prior to the conference call. So, at this point, I'm feeling like we're being played. Unlike the calls with the other candidates, which were unscripted, Blunt had turned this into the least spontaneous event possible.

The Blunt call was a disaster for Rep. BluntThen, Rep. Blunt just outright pissed me off. He said words to the effect that, while he understood that many of us supported someone else, and he knew we'd be writing up the call later, he hoped we wouldn't write or do something that would jeopardize our ability to work together later, and since he was gonna win—already had the votes locked up, in fact—we would be dealing with him.

OK. I admit I have a slight problem with authority. So, maybe I'm taking this wrong, but I took that as veiled threat to mean that, if we expected any access in the future, maybe we'd better think about what we wrote about him. I really don't respond well to threats. Even pleasantly veiled ones.

Huh. OK. I'll make a deal with Rep. Blunt. How's this sound? 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. I think that sounds fair. Somehow, I managed to get along fine for the first 41 years of my life without talking to Roy Blunt, and things turned out OK. I'm not a Washington journalist. My livelihood doesn't depend on having access to powerful DC insiders. So, I think I'll be fine if I never talk to him again.

Indeed, I would prefer it.

But this little statement brings up an interesting point. One of the later questioners (I think it was Mike Krempasky from Red State, but I'm not sure), asked, why Rep. Blunt wouldn't step down from his Republican conference leadership position, since some members might fear some retaliation from him if they publicly came out for Shadegg or Boehner. Rep. Blunt responded that he was shocked—shocked!—that anyone would think of him in that way, and besides, he had to stay in the job, keeping the wheels of the conference turning, and whatnot.

Frankly, after the thinly veiled threat he had just dropped on us, I was thinking that, if I was a Congressman, I'd be pretty careful about offending the vindictive SOB myself.

If I was a Republican Congressman, I could think of about 220 Republican members that I'd vote for before I voted for Roy Blunt as Majority LeaderAs far as I'm concerned, the Blunt call was a disaster for Rep Blunt. My dominant impression was that he was trying to stack the deck with ringers who'd throw him softball questions, so our group's ability to question him closely would be limited by squandering time on people who were not part of our group, and whose questions he saw in advance. In short, he was trying to spin us. As far as I can tell, Rep. Blunt broke just about every rule for how to deal effectively with bloggers. I don't think he could've alienated me more effectively had he intentionally set out to do so.

I mean, has the guy ever even seen a blog? Have any of his staff?

After the call had ended, on of the attendees sent out an email, asking why he hadn't been invited to any of the earlier conference calls. Well, Sparky, the answer is that you weren't part of our blogger group, and the other candidates didn't try, like Rep. Blunt, to invite questioners that they perceived as being friendlier, in order to reduce their exposure to tough questioning. Once Rep. Blunt agreed to the conference call, he pretty much took it over, organizing the attendees as well as the technical portion, and screening questions in advance.

Also, several members of our group had hit "*1" but were never recognized to allow them to ask questions. They were still hanging when Rep. Blunt said, essentially, "Woo, look at the time! Thanks for coming by folks. Now get out!'

So, if you're a Republican Congressman, I'm not going to endorse anyone, or tell you who to vote for. But if I was one of you, I could think of about 220 Republican members that I'd vote for before I voted for Roy Blunt as Majority Leader.

By the way, how's our deal working out for you so far, Rep. Blunt?
Return to Main Blog Page

Previous Comments to this Post 

Other than being controlling on the conference call and using oh so common political tactics ( ringers with easy questions) - is there anything about Roy Blunts Policy that would make you not want to endorse him? I understand you saying he just acted... sleazy for lack of a better word, but beyond that...? Anything?

I’m not questioning your reasons for disliking him, just curious if this extends into his policy views.
Written By: Kalibah
URL: http://
The threat. The unwillingness to face tough questions from people he knew didn’t support him. The obvious difference between his attitude and the other two candidates.
Written By: Dale Franks
You’re right to feel wary of Boehner. Radley Balko has some dirt on him here, here, and here. And not that you need any more reasons, but he bashes Blunt here too.
Written By: Matt McIntosh
Other than being controlling on the conference call and using oh so common political tactics ( ringers with easy questions) - is there anything about Roy Blunts Policy that would make you not want to endorse him? I understand you saying he just acted... sleazy for lack of a better word, but beyond that...? Anything?
For what it’s worth, I think that, in the current environment, his slightly sleazy Machine Boss charisma alone might be enough to disqualify him. Remember, the GOP is trying to get away from that.

Aside from that, though, my perception is that he’s perfectly happy with the state of affairs — that all we need to do is have a little less corruption and then we’d really get things done. He talked about how great this past session was, because of all the big bills that were passed.

You know, I recall a lot of bills being passed. What I don’t recall is being too happy about any of them. Apparently, "getting things done" is what he’s interested in. Limited government didn’t seem to be a big concern, or, really, even on the radar.

There’s actually more to it than that, but that’s the short version.
Written By: Jon Henke
So Blunt’s master plan is "business as usual".
Well, that certainly isn’t working real well for me....not that Blunt is going to call me and least not till they need money to "defeat the democrats, who as you know are supported by George Soros..."
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Tell us how you really feel, Dale.
Written By: Crank
It’s obvious Blunt thought the whole call was a waste of time since none of you guys will be voting for who gets the position.

Good on you for voicing your opinion on this. I think I would have been just as PO’d as you for being so blatantly used.

And THANK YOU for providing an honest opinion about each of these guys. I would rather that happened than having smoke blown at me.

I have been clear in how upset I have been with the way Republicans in the House and Senate have been handling things lately whenever I get the many fundraising calls, just prior to refusing to donate further until they change. Hopefully they will learn the lesson and do what we elected them to do.
Written By: Republicanvet
URL: http://
Ironically, Blunt did an excellent job of communicating his position: "business as usual" — which is exactly what we don’t need. Kudos to NZ Bear et al for organizing the call, and you and others for solid reporting. (And, thanks to the commentor for additional links on Boehner.)
Written By: Scott Lawton
So take us to the next point: Will Blunt’s, er, blunt manner carry him into the position? Have you heard anything from the House Membership or their staff saying they are willing to stand up to Blunt? Or even that they’ve signed on to his list to protect their derriers but that they plan to vote for, say, Shadegg?

I don’t know the mechanism, are the votes ’public’, that is to say, will Blunt know who voted for whom? I have no problem with Authority Figures... but I detest bullies. From what you describe, Blunt is acting the coward to his potential critics, and a bully to the Republican House members. NOT exactly the qualities the Repub’s need in this position... I can just imagine him winning, and the way he would treat the Press, and how that would go over with the public. Yay.

Written By: Mr. Michael
URL: http://none
I truly appreciate your reporting & the attempt to remain objective while conveying your response to the candidates. I think my reaction would have a lot less controlled or as nice. I think Blunt’s reaction to the conference call is what is exactly wrong w/ the Republicans’ response to gaining control in Congress. If they would only realize that their strengths are not the Democrats, that their bases as well as moderates on both sides appreciate a direct response. I could care less if I agree w/ all of a candidate’s positions, I’d much rather know what they believe & where they stand. I do not agree w/ a lot of Bush’s beliefs or positions, but I am quite comfortable in the fact I know what they are vs. Gore or Kerry. The GOP’s strength isn’t & should never be trying to please everyone or giving political double talk when in a tight spot, but it should always be where they stand & what they do. Look at the most recent & successful GOP politicians... Reagan & Bush (43) & their policies, not to mention the success exemplified by the Contract w/ America. They need to realize that they are not the Clintons & begin once again to seek & maintain the high-road. Sure it is more work for them, but their successes have managed to change not only this country but the world. Granted it is very easy for me to say, but I have found that that is what not only works in getting & maintaining votes, but that is what works in getting something done & more than some meaningless waterdowned legistlature. Look at the successes of getting Roberts & hopefully Alito nominated. I am proud to have voted for & been a part of something that will have such a lasting influence & so should they.
Written By: PMain
URL: http://
Thank you for the info, I already wrote my representative requesting a vote for Shedagg, and reading this makes me even more certain of whom I think is the write choice. After listening to Shedagg on HH, I realized he would, or at least try to bring a fresh, somewhat libertarian approach to the position. Although I agree with you on his stance on drugs, most of the rest of his platform seems quite refreshing. I think Blount is wrapped up in the old boys club on the beltway, and your post only confirms that.
Written By: DLoy
Boehnerf and Blunt are both liberals masquerading as conservatives. Their voting records show that whenever a big government bill was passed 90% of the time they were voting for it. If either of these guys is "the man"look forward to more Democrats in Congress next year.
Shadegg is not perfect but he is the only conservative in the race. History is clear that America prefers liberal Democrats to liberal Republicans.
Written By: Rodney A Stanton
URL: http://
History is clear that America prefers liberal Democrats to liberal Republicans.
Once again Rod nails it.
If I want big government, I will vote for the guys who brought me Social Security, Medicare, and the Great Society.
Written By: kyle N
Press one - just a technical detail?

Can’t help but wonder if Blunt not only stacked the deck but fixed the technical end as well.
Written By: heroyalwhyness
URL: http://
This is excellent. Very enlightening.
Written By: TheAnchoress
URL: http://
I’m from Missouri, and let me explain a few things to you about the entire Blunt family:

Roy divorced his wife of 31 year to MARRY A LOBBYIST for the tobacco companies in 2003.

Roy’s son Andy IS A LOBBYIST for Energy and Tobacco companies here in Missouri.

Roy’s OTHER son MATT is governor here in Missouri - and has been nothing but a nightmare for us. You can read my piece on what he’s doing to the Katy Trail here

It’s been an endless drumbeat of provisions (earmarks aka PORK) attached to crucial legislation (sometimes war legislation) that benefit people who have contributed to his campaign coffers. UPS. Phillip Morris. FedEx. The list is impressive.

His son Matt has fallen under scrutiny for allegedly funneling money from local committees and into campaign war chests and is polling VERY poorly (low 30’s) here in the Show Me State.

As someone who’s from Missouri and has a lot of experience suffering the whole fam-damily - I can tell you that a Blunt win in the House leadership race would be a horrible blow to any reform effort - and would almost certainly translate into election losses this November - and 2008 as well.

Written By: Mac
The only one who is not a lying liberal is Shadegg. The other 2 are DeLay liberals.
Conservatives need to take back the leadership of both the GOP and the federal government.
Written By: JommacDougal
URL: http://
Dale: been watching Matrix much? :^)

"That sounds like a pretty good deal. - But I think I’ve got a better one..."
Written By: Zimri
Mac, I fully understand what you are saying but lets be real. A Blunt as majority leader won’t translate into election losses this november.

I’m from Arkansas and to be perfectly blunt let’s face it, our 2 states barely show up as a blip on the countries politics:(
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
What amazes me about reading this is how different Roy Blunt sounds compared to those days when I was a radio journalist covering him in local politics in Springfield, Missouri. To this day, as a marketing professor, I have used him as an example of how to deal with the media. He used to speak in perfectly crafted no-need-for-me-to-edit, thoughtful sound bites. Plus media types liked and trusted him.
Written By: motownmike
URL: http://

Respectfully, I couldn’t disagree more wholeheartedly.

By electing Roy Blunt as majority leader - the House will be sending a message that they are more interested in keeping the status quo and remaining tied to the K Street Project mindset than in distancing themselves from it.

The American people will hear this message - Loud and Clear - 5x5 - and will hold the Right accountable for that message in ’06 - and probably in ’08 as well.

Anyone who thinks differently is "Whistling Through The Graveyard".

Dick Morris, one of the most shrewd and connected insiders on the Right just posted a very telling piece in The Hill magazine about the nations shift to the left on these issues. It’s a sobering read.

Written By: Mac
The only libertarian in Congress is Ron Paul.
Written By: Hephaestos
stop calling your corrupt spendthrifty Republicans liberals. We actual liberals don’t want them and we don’t define our beliefs that way. You can’t take every trait you don’t like in the representatives of your own side and define it as a trait of the other side.

Someone with conservative view who can’t control his spending habits is not a liberal!

It would be like me saying that Joe Democratic Congressman who is pro-abortion and in favor of a higher minimum wage is actually a conservative because he lets lobbyists write his bills.
Written By: xian
Have to agree with xian.

Letting lobbyists write legislation is neither conservative nor liberal - it’s sleazy and corrupt.
Written By: noname
URL: http://
Thanks for telling it like it is and standing up against business as usual. Blunt is an establishment man through and through and it certainly showed here. Personally, I’d like a little break from the Delay era of Republican politics, and I am confident that Blunt is not the candidate to provide it.
Written By: Joe Yangtree
URL: http://
You Republicans crack me up. Everyone else has known for years that Blount is a fucking moron and a scumbag, just as we knew it about DeLay.
Written By: Larry Lange
URL: http://
Well, what did you expect? Bush does the same thing at all of his "townhall" meetings.
Written By: scarshapedstar
URL: http://
I’m a Democrat, but I really admire the spirit with which you are approaching this leadership election. If there were more voters like you on both sides of the aisle, this country would be in better shape.

Good luck cleaning up your party!
Written By: Doug
URL: http://
Before I even get started, let me make clear that I am a strong Democrat.

While I obviously can’t address how Blunt deals with GOP bloggers, I can address at least one question you posed in your piece:
I mean, has the guy ever even seen a blog? Have any of his staff?
The answer to that question is absolutely yes. They check my blogs religiously. Perhaps that’s why they are a bit paranoid about bloggers in general.

If Republicans are interested in finding out what the man who claims to have the votes for Majority Leader tied up is really like, I would suggest they take a quick look, here and here.

Unlike you, I plan to give Blunt my unqualified endorsement, it’s the absolute best gift the Republicans could give the Democrats for the 2006 elections.
Written By: Roy Temple
Even coming from the "other side" on this one, you have my sympathy. Can you imagine any Dem politician being clueless enough to pull a stunt like that with Atrios or Kos? Well, actually, I can, since there are still a few of them left; just not nearly as many as there used to be. Here’s hoping your guys come around, too. You deserve better.

I agree with Roy Temple that having Blunt in power owould be a powerful gift for Democrats come midterms; but still, all things considered, as an American, I’d rather see the whole corrupt gang of K Street moneylenders chased out of the temple sooner, rather than later. If y’all can do it before November, that’s fine by me.
Written By: Ray Radlein
"The only libertarian in Congress is Ron Paul."

I think you’d be right if you capitalized that ’l’, but otherwise I’m not sure you’re right.

This site:

lists the following:

Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Mark Foley (R-FL)
Butch Otter (R-ID)
Ron Paul, M.D. (R-TX)

I don’t know anything about Foley or Otter, but I can vouch for Flake. He’s, as best as I can tell, the real deal (much to many Republicans consternation).

I think that’s the big lesson to take away from this: Flake is everything the party ought to be and needs, and the national Republican leadership tried to mount a challenge against him in his most recent primary election.
Written By: CaptVee
URL: http://
I should say at the outset, that I am a Liberal blogger. (

Congratulations on an excellent post.

This is exactly how the mainstream press in DC are handled every day, and it’s worked well for the current poitical structure. Blunt’s people just naturaly assumed that bloggers are just a new breed of corporate reporter, and treated you all as such.

Our press has devolved to the point that access to people in power is considered more important than reporting about what those people are like and the consequences of their policies.
Written By: Paul -V-
halloween invitations info :: [url=]halloween invitations[/url] info :: halloween invitations info ::
halloween costume check :: [url=]halloween costume[/url] check :: halloween costume check ::
halloween witches doc :: [url=]halloween witches[/url] doc :: halloween witches doc ::
halloween skeleton check :: [url=]halloween skeleton[/url] check :: halloween skeleton check ::
Written By: halloween invitations

Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Vicious Capitalism


Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks