If U.S. House Republicans have learned any lessons from the Nov. 7 elections, they will name Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona today as their second-in-command for the next two-year session.
When Shadegg made a long-shot bid earlier this year to replace former Rep. Tom DeLay as the majority leader, his message was Republicans had wandered away from their platform of leaders with integrity who sought a smaller, more accountable government. He warned his colleagues that voters were losing patience with GOP arrogance and inability to reform management of Congress, comments that turned out to be quite prophetic.
Shadegg doesn’t have the presidential aspirations of a John McCain or the irrepressible maverick status of a Jeff Flake, so he hasn’t become a media star like those other lawmakers from Arizona. But he shares their same agenda for lobbying reform, bringing a stop to budget earmarks and cutting out the pork that contributes so much to the federal deficit. Shadegg also understands Social Security and Medicare are popular entitlement programs nearing a funding crisis that require tough choices now, instead of continuing delays that will limit our choices later while further driving up the costs to taxpayers.
As a previous member of House Republican leadership, Shadegg has the respect of conservatives for his principles but also from moderates and liberals for his willingness to negotiate and to work through problems instead of trying to win through shouting matches and parliamentary tricks.
Selection of Shadegg as the incoming minority floor whip also would be a sound compliment to Wednesday’s action by Senate Republicans to name Jon Kyl as chairman of the GOP Conference Committee, the party’s third-highest post in that chamber.
As the Republicans make the transition to the minority party for the next couple of years, they would benefit with two leaders from the same state who see eyeto-eye on the fundamental issues facing our country.