House Republicans Open Up the Leadership Table to Freshmen

Are they reaching out or just throwing a bone?

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More than 80 new legislators will join the 112th Congress in January. Many of the incoming freshmen ran on an anti-establishment, anti-incumbent ticket, which seems like it might make for some tension between the old faces and the new. However, it's been reported that House Republican leaders plan to welcome the new class with a spot on the party leadership team, a liaison to the Policy Committee, and two seats on the Steering Committee. Onlookers are divided about whether this means the mainstream GOP genuinely wants to work with the Tea Party-aligned newcomers, or is just looking to placate them.

  • What the Freshmen Get  ABC News reports that "among the positions the freshmen class will elect are a Freshman Representative to the Elected Leadership Team, a Freshman Class President, two Freshman Class Steering Committee Representatives and a Freshman Representative to the Policy Committee ... The election for freshman leadership will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 17th following new member conference organizing activities."

  • Keep an Eye on Kristi Noem  At The Washington Post, Greg Sargent hears from "a GOP aide" that "newly elected Tea Party favorite Kristi Noem, who unseated Dem Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in South Dakota and is known to her fans as the 'next Sarah Palin,' has 'indicated a strong interest'" for the seat on the Leadership Team. "If Rep. Noem or some other Tea Partyer does get the post, which has been in discussions for weeks, it could satisfy the Tea Party's demands for some kind of representation within the leadership."

  • So What Does This Actually Mean? wonders Jesse Zwick at The Washington Independent. "The position sounds a bit like the throne to an imaginary kingdom — what are its actual responsibilities and powers? How the role factors into the GOP's current leadership web will determine whether it's just a fancy title or a position that will actually satiate the Tea Party's desire to provide input and influence the direction of the party."

  • Not Much, thinks Barbara Morrill at Daily Kos. "Now that the teahadist wing of the Republican Party has been taken care of with a two year, meaningless title--since Boehner & Company obviously have no interest in ceding any real power the upstarts within their party--the leadership can get back to the business of governing."

  • Could Actually Compromise Freshmen's Power  "As the Times puts it, Boehner wants to ensure that the new crop is 'not tempted into immediate acts of rebellion,'" writes Allahpundit at Hot Air. "That is to say, they don't want freshmen tea partiers wandering off and becoming a thorn in the leadership's side, either by forming their own caucus or joining Bachmann's tea-party caucus; giving them a voice in the top group is a way to reduce that pressure, and of course to purchase some political cover on tough votes. If they end up bringing something to the floor that makes tea partiers howl, now they can point to Noem or whoever and say, 'Hey, she's partly responsible too.'"

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