04/08/2014 | The Daily Caller
Informed sources in the House, Senate and outside groups tell The Daily Caller that a shift in leadership is going to come sooner than expected, and Cantor is fighting hard for the new spot.
Speaker of the House John Boehner will likely step down if the Republicans fail to take the Senate in 2014; and even if Republicans do win, the rumor is Boehner isn’t interested in sticking around in the unpopular gig for too long anyway. This leaves his top deputy, Cantor, in a strong position to succeed Boehner at the helm in the next two years, and Cantor’s aspirations for the speakership are obvious.
Cantor’s alleged target, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, poses a rare threat to Cantor’s rise: He has strong conservative bona fides, once heading the conservative Republican Study Committee and often fighting for conservative reforms. He has also been around long enough – including serving as chairman of the House Republican Conference – to earn the respect of more moderate, “establishment” Republicans.
It’s not certain Hensarling even wants to be speaker, with sources close to him playing coy, but it’s clear to conservatives that Cantor sees his colleague as a threat to his rise.
“Hensarling appeals to conservatives, with maybe a slight apprehension that he’s not fire breathing anymore, but still a principled, trustworthy conservative,” a leading conservative Republican, who worked closely with Hensarling, told TheDC. “He also appeals to moderates, and is reasonable in how he runs his committee — he reaches across the aisle.”
Cantor’s strategy to sideline Hensarling begins with killing his policy initiatives, and robbing him of political successes. When Hensarling suggested reforms to flood insurance, Republican leadership bypassed him. His attempts to abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also been ignored — despite overwhelming outside support from conservative juggernauts like Heritage Action and Club for Growth.
“This is all 100 percent coming from Cantor,” one ranking Senate source with ties to the situation told TheDC, “and this is all angling for Boehner’s job. The case Cantor’s going to make is ‘I’m next in line.’ Hensarling may [otherwise] say ‘You’re next in line, but who’s doing all the work? Who’s the one passing all the bills? Who do you want to lead you, a conservative doing reform or a guy with wishy-washy bills?’”
Cantor, sources say, can and is neutering his career threat – especially the “passing all the bills” bit.
“That’s how I see it, personally,” the Hill officer who previously worked with Hensarling told TheDC. “That’s how a lot of folks in the Hensarling office see it.”
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Almost too sickening to read the play by play. There’s an ongoing battle. Cantor would not be happy if he is not the golden anointed one — if Boehner goes. And it looks natural that Boehner is going, one way or another. Not if but how soon?