Tea party power: Boehner to include freshman on House Republican leadership team

Smart move for him. Is it smart for the frosh?

In a nod to the strength of their newest constituency, House Republican leaders will grant incoming freshmen more say in the party’s direction than most first-term lawmakers receive.

House Republican Leader John Boehner and his No. 2, party Whip Eric Cantor, will notify newly elected Republicans Tuesday that one member of their class will get a seat at the leadership table and another two will be given spots on the Steering Committee, which decides committee assignments and chairmanships in the new Congress…

Members of the class will run for these positions, along with those of class president and freshman representative to the policy committee, on Nov. 17 after the entire Republican caucus selects its leaders for the next two years, according to the letter.

Kristi Noem, who’s frequently compared to Palin, is reportedly interested in the leadership position and has the support of Boehner, Cantor, et al. Makes sense for the GOP brain trust: She has tea party cred, knocked off a high profile Democratic up-and-comer in Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, and is plenty telegenic and well-spoken enough to serve as a spokesman for the new Republican class in TV interviews. More importantly, though, as the Times puts it, Boehner wants to ensure that the new crop is “not tempted into immediate acts of rebellion.” 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.”

Via Dakota Voice, here she is in action last week. Exit question: Is this better for Boehner or better for the incoming reps?