I have a hard time grasping at this one.
It’s funny, I was thinking about Denny Hastert and then got an email making the case. Then I saw Jim Galloway had mentioned the name too.
Let’s review: Gingrich got tossed. The House rallied to Bob Livingston. Livingston couldn’t keep it in his pants. He resigned before the election. They all went with the safe choice of Hastert.
End of story, right?
Hastert was fine when he had Tom DeLay to whip people into shape. When DeLay left, Hastert fell apart. See, people went with the guy who was the least threatening to the rest of them and he never really had clout. The show was run by his staff, not by him.
When things got topsy-turvy, things went to hell quickly. By 2006, Hastert really was not leading and without DeLay the caucus was lost. That’s not to say DeLay was good or bad. Whether you liked him or not, there was a reason they called the man the “Hammer.”
I guess that’s why I can’t get excited by Larry O’Neal. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know the guy. But O’Neal strikes me as more of the same, but safe. I don’t know of any stories about him other than he cavorts with all the same lobbyists and goes to all the same parties. He just goes home alone.
But he’s the same or at least strikes me as that way. He has been part of that culture. He has been one of the adults in the room, for sure, but like with Keen I think going with O’Neal will be perceived as a safe bet that isn’t really going to turn the ship around.
And the House GOP needs to turn the ship around.
I don’t know the guys who are running for Speaker. I guess, given where I live, I should think it would be great to have Larry O’Neal as Speaker or see Allen Peake or Jim Cole elevated in some way.
And it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Peake or Cole, I suspect, could be refreshing faces in leadership and reassure entrepreneurs in the state. They’re fine men worth really considering.
But I guess what I’m getting at is that when crisis comes, the herd tends to seek the closest, safest shelter. The caucus, though, really isn’t a herd. And it should favor the bold over the safe, particularly if it can find a bold choice that is also safe.
I think that’s possible. I hope they’ll consider it. Good men are leaving the House because of the terrible leadership the House GOP has put in place. I don’t blame them. It’s common knowledge that the best and wisest piece of legislation stands no chance with the House GOP leadership in competition with short skirts and liquor.
I think the guys who backed Glenn et al should probably ask themselves what they want to do. Then they should do the opposite. Status quo won’t help.