His colleagues elected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) House Majority Whip on Thursday, along with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was elected as House Majority Leader, succeeding the recently defeated Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). McCarthy was the natural successor to Cantor, but it was not so easy a succession for Scalise. The victory came in no small part due to the help of Scalise’s friend, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), for whipping the votes for that victory, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times reported today. “Roskam down, Schock up,” was Sweet’s takeaway on the leadership selections.
Whipping votes will be a great quality just in case Scalise decides to appoint Schock as his Deputy House Majority Whip. This column reported a couple days ago that Rep. Aaron Schock was taking a big, high-risk gamble in opposing Peter Roskam for House Majority Whip. The Chicago Sun Times reported Friday that the loss for Roskam sets him back at least two years, if then, to regain a slot as a Republican leader and an Illinois political leader.
In fact, the loss likely means that Schock is now the “King of the Hill” in Illinois politics, with a foot in the door on the national scene. Roskam is not even a close second, as Rep. Adam Kinzinger has earned that slot, by virtue of his numerous appearances on national television, including Fox News, MSNBC and CNN. Kinzinger is quickly establishing himself and cut out a niche as the Republican Party spokesman on foreign affairs, and some might even say he has become the new John McCain as the Republican “war hawk.” In fact, today Kinzinger will appear on another Sunday talk show, ABC’s “This Week,” along with big kahuna of “war mongering war hawks,” former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The spotlight, however, now belongs to Schock, whose stature will be enhanced if he is appointed as Scalise’s Deputy Majority House Whip. After losing a couple of crucial political battles, Schock decided to take one more gamble. Schock decided to support Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) for House Majority Whip over his Illinois delegation, Republican colleague Roskam.
Schock had suffered a defeat at the hands of Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee, Bruce Rauner. A super PAC that was supportive of Rauner dissuaded Rep. Aaron Schock from entering the race with a slew of ads targeting the congressman in his Peoria-based district, said Politico.
In response, Schock supported a super PAC that opposed Rauner against an Illinois State Senator, Kirk Dillard. Republican Fund for Progress & Jobs, a committee set up to combat Rauner’s candidacy, was headed by Steven Shearer, a former chief of staff for Schock and Shearer has accused Rauner for running attack ads against Schock when the Republican congressman was mulling a gubernatorial run.
Yesterday, the Peoria Journal reported that Schock was in Peoria hanging out with Rauner touring the Mission of Mercy dental clinic at the Peoria Civic Center and acting like friends. Afterward they both discussed on how they believe government can improve oral health for Illinoisans. Now there is a biting political issue.
All part of the Schock plans to become “King of the Hill.” In order to gain the national stage, Schock will have to show that he can remove the Republican Party label as the “so-nothing” Congress. Schock can easily say the House lacked leadership, but with new blood in place, look what we can achieve.
One of the first tests of Schock, and the elected new leaders of McCarthy and Scalise, will be “immigration reform.”