I see in the Star's new profile of Roy Blunt that the Congressman "has a sense of history." This isn't all that surprising, I suppose. Even the casual Washington historian knows that an honest discussion of his history in Washington is bad news for Blunt, which is why the man doesn't want to talk much about his time in the disgraced House Leadership team with Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert, the many disturbing connections to the scandal of his friend, felon Jack Abramoff, all the things he did to be named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress," etc.
But I spit out my coffee this beautiful Saturday morning when I read the following:
Now his political opponents are trying to tag him the opposite — the consummate Washington insider, a friend of lobbyists linked to the tarnished old guard of Capitol Hill.
Those who’ve known him all these years know better.
“I’ve not seen that Washington has changed Roy,” said retiring U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, who was a newly elected, 33-year-old governor when he signed off on the Greene County Commission’s selection of Blunt as clerk. “When we talk, we talk about what’s going on in Missouri, not what’s going on in Washington.”
Ha! Maybe Bond missed those stories about how his humble Ozark friend just happened to become the #2 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, trade up to a $1.5M mansion in Georgetown and become with his new wife "part of the old-school Georgetown social establishment, which keeps them in the pages of Washington’s glossy society magazines?"
Of course, Bond has been very busy serving in the U.S. Senate since 1986, so it's completely reasonable for him to not understand that Blunt wasn't a major player in Washington just a couple of years ago, before his own party booted him from leadership because of his failures and ties to "the tarnished old guard of Capitol Hill." As printed in the Post-Dispatch, February 3, 2006.
FRESH FACE ISN'T BLUNT'S
In a surprise turnabout, House Republicans rejected Roy Blunt's bid for House ajority leader Thursday, opting to put a new face at the leadership table amid a sea of discontent, desire for reform, and election-year jitters.
GOP members picked Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, as their No. 2 leader in a topsy-turvy election that Blunt, R-Mo., had been expected to win. Buffeted by a widening corruption scandal and sagging public approval ratings, GOP lawmakers itching for change rejected Blunt's pitch that he was a proven leader who would provide vital continuity and legislative results at an already tumultuous turning point for the party...
Blunt's downfall was not solely due to his status as an incumbent.
Lawmakers said that his deep ties to the lobbying effort, his status-quo agenda, and his close relationship with ex-House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, helped doom his bid. DeLay was forced to step aside after a Texas grand jury indicted him last year; he also is under scrutiny in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
When DeLay was the GOP whip, he tapped Blunt -- then just elected to his second term -- to be his deputy. And Blunt had taken over a key DeLay initiative to coordinate the GOP agenda with Washington lobbyists.
Blunt "is part of the team that people wanted a break from," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who supported Shadegg. "People were ready for more reform than (Blunt) was offering."
Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., said Thursday's vote was "an effort to get away from DeLay and the image" that he brought to the party, which critics said included a very blurry line between legislative favors and political fundraising.
Image credit: Washington Life