Which candidate for Speaker of the House is the most conservative?

Republican Speaker John Boehner
Republican Speaker John Boehner

I waited a couple of days to write about Speaker Boehner stepping down. I was supportive of him for a while, but even with the majority, nothing was getting done. I wanted to see bills passed that were popular with the American public, that would be voted against by Democrats, and vetoed by Obama. That would have made clear where Democrats stood. It turned out that he was more liberal than I thought.

Right now, there are 4 announced candidates to replace Boehner:

Kevin McCarthy, who is very similar to Boehner, maybe a bit more conservative. He would be a continuation of Boehner’s “do nothing” legacy. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 90.43, and his most recent rating was 72, and prior to that 86. 100 is considered a perfect score. McCarthy IS considered good enough by Tea Party conservatives, but they would like someone better if they can get the votes.

Dan Webster is another moderate Republican who is running. I don’t know much about him. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 81.11, and his most recent rating was 72, and prior to that 88. Not good enough.

Tom Price, is an ideas man in the vein of Paul Ryan. He has been endorsed by Paul Ryan and Jeb Hensarling – two gurus on economic policy. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 96.89, and his most recent rating was 92, and prior to that 100. He’s my first choice.

Steve Scalise, who is a decent candidate, but he made the mistake of giving a speech to some weird racist group billions of years ago. A terrible mistake, because it is always being used against him no matter how sorry he says he is. Well, the truth is that you can be Obama and have a racist, America-hating pastor, but Republicans don’t get forgiveness for their mistakes. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 98.00, and his most recent rating was 100, and prior to that 100.

So, we have two good candidates. Price is my pick because we don’t need a conservative purist bomb-thrower, we need a conservative purist policy wonk who can craft policies that get votes from Republicans AND moderate Democrats. Things that get moved, things that get signed. Things that solve problems.

There is some effort to draft Trey Gowdy, because of what a great job he’s done on the Benghazi hearings.

The leftist Washington Post explains:

Whispers are everywhere that South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy will enter — or be drafted into — the race to be House majority leader, the second most powerful job in the Republican-controlled House. And Republicans (at least those in Washington) should be rooting like crazy for that to happen.

Here’s why: As I noted yesterday, changing out John Boehner as speaker for Kevin McCarthy as speaker (McCarthy is currently the majority leader) isn’t much of a change. Yes, McCarthy is younger and might be slightly more well-regarded among the younger and more conservative elements of the party than was Boehner. But  that’s not saying much. And no one would mistake McCarthy as of the tea party base. He’s an institutionalist who is likely to face lots of the same challenges that led Boehner to call it quits.

At the moment, the choices to replace McCarthy as majority leader are Rep. Tom Price (Ga.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (La.). Scalise is currently  majority whip; Price is the chair of the Budget Committee. Both are well-liked by conservatives — and got their starts from the conservative sinecures within the GOP conference. But both are already in prominent positions and neither is all that skilled as a television performer — a trait considered essential to jobs in leadership these days. (Scalise was also recent enmeshed in a controversy over his having appeared in front of a white supremacist group in the past.)

Gowdy is all the things Price and Scalise are not. He’s a regular — and a star — on Fox News Channel thanks to his job as chairman of the House select committee investigating the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. He’s seen as the latest (and best) iteration of the tea party movement in Congress, someone who is committed to core conservative principles but is also adept at knowing which levers of power to pull when. (Gowdy is a former federal prosecutor.)

“If you want the best person to make the Republican case, if you want the best person to talk about why conservatism is the right answer for America, Trey Gowdy is our best foot forward,” Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said during an interview on Fox News Channel on Tuesday morning.

But so far, Gowdy’s not biting. His lifetime rating is 98.67, this year he is 100, last year he had 100. It’s hard to say who I like better… Price or Gowdy. I’d have to give the edge to Gowdy, because I think we need a fighter to inspire the base. Later on, with a Republican president, we can have good ideas then.

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