Washington’s chattering class zeroed in Tuesday on a potential but still nonexistent leadership battle between House Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor after members of the press received their advance copies of the latter’s new book, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders.” While the book may indeed elevate Cantor, who co-authored the book with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, its title couldn’t make its purpose any clearer – the trio sets out to prove that there’s a new Republican Party emerging that’s younger, bolder and more diverse.
Boehner has given two major policy addresses in as many weeks to go toe to toe with President Obama as he sets the stage for a possible speakership that would make him his party’s official foil to the Democratic commander in chief. On Tuesday, Boehner addressed the 92nd American Legion National Convention in Milwaukee about the end of combat operations in Iraq as a precursor to Obama’s speech later in the evening. At the same time, about a dozen reporters in the Beltway had just finished combing through Young Guns and found only limited references to Boehner and took that to mean the Ohioan is on the outs.
But the book is less a preview of a leadership battle as it is a forced rebirth.