DeLay, according to several GOP sources, knew that House rules would give him no choice but to step down immediately. But he made clear to Hastert, his longtime friend and protege, that he was determined to fight the charges and return to power as soon as possible.
What he and Hastert wanted was a timeserver, someone to hold the job but with no ambitions to stay in it. And they had someone in mind. This week, an aide to the speaker approached Rep. David Dreier about his role in a post-DeLay caucus. Dreier, a congenial Californian who has loyally served the GOP leadership as Rules Committee chairman, expressed interest in helping Hastert.
My earlier speculation that this was DeLay trying to move up the chain isn’t what the DeLay people are leaking. It looks like Blunt led a revolution in the ranks of the House Republicans. Not a big revolt, but big enough to box DeLay out of an easy return to power. Whether it’s a reaction against DeLay or against the heavy-handed attempt to airlift Dreier into the driver’s seat is unclear.