A couple hours ago it seemed unlikely that Blunt, a native of Greene County, Mo., would grab the power reins formerly held by Tom DeLay. The speaker, Dennis Hastert, had already recommended California's David Dreier to fill DeLay's shoes.
But the GOP leadership just finished meeting, and Roy D. Blunt is the "temporary" majority leader.
Blunt said he had "great regret that Tom DeLay has had to go through what he's going through right now." But he took the job anyway -- on a "temporary" basis, of course -- and scattered some of DeLay's duties among other congressmen, who will now owe him.
"First among equals" is the phrase used to describe Blunt's new position. But it's just a phrase. Blunt gets the title and the power.
This is not what Hastert intended to happen. It's probably also not what DeLay wants, if he ever hopes to come back to power -- so maybe it's clear that DeLay won't be coming back as leader. Perhaps a plea bargain isn't such an insane theory.