14 January, 2006

John Who?

Well, things have certainly been a-buzzing over on the other side of the double yellow line tonight. NZ Bear's post endorsing Arizona congressman John Shadegg's move towards the Majority Leader's office has made everyone go gaga. From normally sober folks like Glenn Reynolds to humorous sarcasm artists like Jeff Goldstein, anyone that's has even a slightly moderate lean, which will include Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt only for simplicity's sake in this post, is jumping in with both feet in support of Rep. Shadegg's decision to run against Roy Blunt and John Boehner for the second most powerful position in the House.

My personal opinion? Well, folks from the other side of the double-yellow line would say I shouldn't have an opinion, now wouldn't they? These, of course, would tend to be the exact same folks that predicted the heat death of the universe due solely to Nancy Peloci's ascendency to Minority Leader, so there'd be just a wee bit of poetic justice in pointing out their double standards in a pre-emptive strike, wouldn't there.

At first blush, Shadegg is just what he appears to be: a mainstream Republican with semi-strong libertarian leanings. That's easy to peg just by reading his entry in On The Issues. Not to mention these paragraphs in a Forbes article:
In 2000, Shadegg was elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group that helps shape conservative policy for the House. Last year, he was elected chairman of the Republican policy committee, the research arm of the GOP and the fifth-ranking position in leadership.

He has worked on health care, energy and environmental issues. Last year, as Congress began to address immigration policy, Shadegg held a series of unity dinners to help lawmakers find common ground.
"John is seen as a hard worker," said Arizona State University professor Bruce Merrill. "He's really a low-key person. He's not a person that's been very controversial with issues. He's not a person you hear about in the media very often."
And yet there's a rumor that he was listed in the same document that is in the process of bringing down Bob Ney, albeit not to nearly the same extent as Ney was. And a television station in Tuscon reports that Shadegg had his own run-ins with the Abramoff machine. So he can't really be all that upfront as not knowing the lobbyist machine first-hand, now can he? Particularly not "for those of us who want a limited, and more accountable government" like this fellow over here.

And what's quite disturbing to me is the last paragraph of the above-cited article:
Although he is considered quiet, Shadegg made headlines at the 2004 GOP convention, where he referred to filmmaker Michael Moore as the "anti-Christ," called Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" a "crockumentary," and said supporters of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry "have mental health problems."
This doesn't sound like someone who would encourage someone to stretch their hands across the aisle in a display of bipartisanship in order to pass key legislation that both parties consider to be good for the country... But this isn't the Speaker's slot he's going for, but the majority (for now?) leadership. So perhaps the ability to see those on the other side of the aisle as actual human beings rather than just those with "mental health problems" isn't the best criteria to hope for.

Now, do I know everything? Nope. Do I know anything? A bit. So with my small amount of knowledge, I'll reserve my opinion until more data comes out. Hopefully, he will be everything desired by those who have signed on with NZ Bear's endorsement. And for their sakes, I really hope he will not be an embodiment of Badger Blues' prediction:
Second verse, same as the first
A little bit louder, and a little bit worse.
Mr. Shadegg, I hope that, should you come out ahead in the tally on Febuary 2nd, you really are what your supporters say you are. For if you aren't, there will be a lot of trouble. But not for you. For your entire party, and the nation as a whole. We cannot comprehend the possibility that the business-as-usual attitude can continue unchecked in the Capitol, even on K Street. And if it does, I personally will wish you beaten about the head and neck with a rubber albatross until you realize the concept on which you were championed by.

And I hope to God that those undersigned on NZ Bear's endorsement will hold him accountable for his actions should he stuff things up, whether as majority leader or as plain-old congressman.

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