There has been talk of a few fixes, including firing key NRCC staffers and returning to old fundraising programs. These steps may help, but House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) should consider another idea worth millions of dollars all on its own: Prune the dead branches in the caucus now.
Had the Republicans edged out folks like Bob Ney, Mark Foley, Charles Taylor, Curt Weldon, the NRCC could have saved nearly $10 million wasted on losing campaigns.
Right now Reps Don Young (R., Alaska) and John Doolittle (R., Calif.) provide Boehner and the NRCC the opportunity to clean house.
Both Young and Doolittle are currently subjects of federal investigations. Neither shows any indication he will step aside, and both are likely to lose their seats if they run for reelection. The feds raided Doolittle’s Virginia home earlier this year in connection with his ties to imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Unless defeated in a primary, he will almost certainly lose a 61-percent Bush district — about as safe a Republican House seat as there is.
Young, the powerful author of the 2006 transportation bill, is far more formidable for his seniority. He was responsible for earmarking funds in the 2005 Transportation Bill for the Knik Arm Bridge (also known as “Don Young’s Way”), which if built could massively boost his son-in law’s property value. Young is accused of altering another earmark in that bill after it passed Congress and before it was signed by President Bush. The illicit change, now opposed by the Florida congressman it was supposed to benefit, would help a major Florida contributor to Young’s campaign. Watchdog groups are trying, probably in vain, to make the House Ethics committee open an investigation.
That may seem like enough to sink Young, but the federal investigation into his dealings comes on top of that. It pertains to an Alaskan contractor whose employees have given Young $180,000 in campaign cash since 1993. The CEO of that firm, Veco, has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators and testified that his company “donated” labor for Sen. Ted Stevens’s (R) home-remodeling project.
One of the reasons for the "thumpin" last year was that Republicans strayed from conservative principles and acted like Democrats. Republicans forget this lesson at their own peril.