INTERNAL GOP LEAKS…. The Washington Post had an interesting item over the weekend noting some of the internal disputes among like-minded House Republican leaders.
During the budget debate, which ended in a near-party-line vote, Cantor and Boehner were in agreement on the strategy — both endorsed the idea that the House GOP had to produce an alternative budget — but differed on tactics. Recently, both men stood with their fellow leaders at a news conference to unveil a budget “blueprint,” which was widely panned in the media for its lack of details and specific numbers.
Privately, Cantor and the lawmaker tasked with writing the GOP budget, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), had urged the party to hold off going public until it could produce a finished product. Both men wanted a more detailed proposal with dollar figures that would make it a more defensible document. Boehner and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) disagreed, hoping to counter as quickly as possible Democrats’ charge that Republicans are “the Party of No.” The result was a botched rollout and bad press.
Glenn Thrush had a similar report last week.
Greg Sargent noted, “You know there’s serious disarray afoot among a party’s Congressional leaders when the principals and their staffs start leaking damaging info about each other, and that now seems to be happening among House GOP leaders.”
Right. There was some discussion last week about whether Cantor and Ryan really differed on strategy with Boehner and Pence, or whether they just dished to reporters when Boehner and Pence unveiled the number-less budget and made fools of themselves. Maybe Cantor and Ryan “urged the party to hold off going public until it could produce a finished product,” or maybe they were fine with the original strategy and threw their colleagues under the bus to avoid embarrassment after the fact.
But whether Cantor and Ryan are lying or not, House Republican leaders are starting to say less than complimentary things about their colleagues.
Maybe it’s a temporary fluke; maybe it’s early positioning in anticipation of a leadership race in 2011. Something to keep an eye on.