When news of DeLay’s indictment broke, it was widely believed Hastert would ask his colleagues to bypass Blunt in the Republican chain of command and make the 54-year-old Dreier acting majority leader ... Earlier this week, with DeLay’s indictment by an Austin grand jury appearing imminent, DeLay and Hastert reportedly agreed Dreier would become the stopgap majority leader, holding the position only until DeLay is vindicated in court. A Hastert aide sounded out Dreier, with whom the speaker has a close friendship and had personally tapped for the powerful Rules chairmanship.
But following DeLay’s indictment and rumors of the Dreier-for-Leader plan, conservative Republicans began to make known their opposition to elevating Dreier. A meeting of the conservative Republican Study Committee (held, ironically, in HC-5, which would become the site of the full conference meeting later that afternoon) produced “near-unanimous opposition to Dreier,” according to a source who requested anonymity. While Dreier usually votes conservative (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 92%), many House conservatives did not want a leader who voted for funding for embryonic stem-cell research, against an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, who supports hate crimes legislation and has been soft on illegal immigration. At one point during the Republican Study Committee meeting, Rep. Zach Wamp (Tenn.) vowed to nominate RSC Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) for majority leader if Hastert called for Dreier’s election.
By the time the meeting of the full conference commenced, sources told me, the speaker had gotten word that his support for Dreier would spark a conservative revolt. Accordingly, Hastert pulled back from his original plan and called for Blunt’s elevation.
•Blunt has more power than the speaker of the house. Dennis Hastert should hire someone to watch his back.
•Blunt can't be believed or trusted. He screwed over DeLay and Hastert -- his bosses -- and then he lied to the media when asked him about it.