If It Loses the House, GOP May Look Even Further Right

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana), chairman of the right-wing House Republican Study Committee (RSC), may face a dilemma this November. On the one hand, he calls on readers of Human Events to elect more far-right ideologues, touting the RSC’s efforts over the past two years in pushing tax cuts, advocating Social Security privatization, and – in the name of Hurricane Katrina – pushing for opportunistic cuts in safety-net programs and other longstanding right-wing bugbears, all while blocking stem-cell research and making a spectacle out of Terri Schiavo. Until his recent proposal for a guest-worker program, the Right regarded him as a hero, and there was even a campaign to elect the young congressman majority leader of the House after Tom DeLay’s resignation.

On the other hand, if Pence does not get his wish and the Right loses control of the House, he may find himself leader of the minority party, according to U.S. News and World Report’s “Inside Washington”:

The talk this week among conservative House staffers and GOP strategists is that a Democratic victory in the fall elections could lead to a wholesale junking of the House Republican leadership.

While that would likely lead to a nasty leadership bid for minority leader, the conservatives say that it could lead to the election of Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana lawmaker who heads the budget-conscious Republican Study Committee.

“If we lose, I can see everybody being thrown out and Pence’s fiscal conservative team in,” says an adviser to House conservatives. It’s an unlikely scenario because insiders say that House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader John Boehner are secure and that, at worst, Boehner would get the minority leader’s post. But the staffers said a loss of power could lead to a major party revolt against the leadership, opening the door to Pence, who has led the effort to cut spending and pork.