Blogger Conference Call with Roy Blunt
The third and final blogger conference call today is with Rep. Roy Blunt, the Majority Whip.
Blunt’s Introductory Remarks: He hopes bloggers don’t do anything to jeopardize relations with him after the Majority Leader election is over. He’s comfortable that his conference is with him but pledges to work with his opponents should his count be wrong.
He argues that the House has accomplished quite a bit legislatively since he took over as Acting Majority Leader. This is “an opportunity for a new begining” that “no one in our conference wanted to see.” This “is not a big philosophical debate but a debate about how to get our job done.”
Lobbying reform needs to include tribal contributions and 527 re-definitions. Indian tribes should be treated the same
as all others.
My Impressions: I appreciate Mr. Blunt giving us his time, since he came in knowing it was a somewhat hostile audience. That said, he came across as somewhat arrogant, continually making the distinction between what outsiders think versus that of Members.
He also clearly does not “get” what the fuss is on the ethics scandals. Not only does he refuse to acknowledge that it is primarily one that taints Republicans but he seems to think it’s an inside baseball issue that real people don’t care about.
Most importantly, he honestly seems to think that the status quo is fine. He repeatedly asserted what a good job the current Congress has done and how much they’ve advanced the conservative agenda. There are very few conservatives outside the Congress who would agree with that statement.
Other Blogger Reactions:
- Mike Krempasky was passed over for the Q&A despite written assurances that he had the 5th question. He posts the question has was going to ask.
- John Hawkins: “Grade: F. I know, I’ll probably never get another conference call with Blunt again for saying this, but he really didn’t come across well at all. He struck me as a hubristic, status quo candidate who really isn’t very interested in reform because, for the most part, he likes things as they are and doesn’t think he needs to promise anything to win.”
- LaShawn Barber: “Unlike the first two calls, the one with the Majority Whip was veryÃ¢€¦controlled. It felt more like an opportunity for him to talk, talk, talk while we just listened in.”
- Ed Morrissey discusses all three calls in one post, endorsing Shadegg at the end.
My “transcript” of the question and answer period is below the fold.
Update: Radio Blogger has audio of the call as well as an accurate-looking transcript.
Blogger Q and A:
Matt Margolis: How will GOP counter Democrats on corruption issue? Must pass reform, which Democrats have stalled. They shouldn’t be able to get away with calling this “a Republican scandal” since they’re taking lobbying money, too.
Tim Chapman: A lot of bloggers have endorsed your opponents. Why are conservatives latching on to the other candidates? I don’t have any real take on that. We’re all conservatives. “I think I understand the optics, why people think we need a visual change.” Members understand that the real challenge is getting work done. “We need a change? A change from what?” We’ve gotten a lot of things done for conservatives.
(?): Mumbled, long statement in the form of a question. Involves ethical reforms and legislative priorities. Let’s not lose sight of all the work we got done last year. Budget reform and border security are key priorities for the rest of the session. Establishing the rules is not an agenda, it’s just establishing rules.
John Hawkins: Shadegg noted that you might use your Whip position to punish opponents. Why don’t you resign to preclude that concern? We all travel a lot and there could be vacancies in the future. The idea that you should give up one job before getting another one is wrong. Having to start over is a bad precedent to establish.
Ed Morrissey: Are we going to revisit BCRA? I tried to defeat campaign finance to begin with but couldn’t. It was wrong then. The 527s are the main problem to be solved immediately. They’ve hurt non-527s, too, especially conservative ones. That would be doable in time to impact the 2006 elections.