The chief deputy whip passed on a chance in 2006 to challenge Blunt. Ever since, Republicans have seen him as the next lawmaker to lead their party. The question: Would he challenge Blunt or go all the way by taking on Boehner?Emphasis mine.
The answer probably depends on the outcome in November. Boehner’s support has wavered at times, but he remains the most powerful voice among Republicans in the House. On the other hand, Cantor might feel loyalty to Blunt because he elevated Cantor to the leadership, and their staffs remain closely aligned.
However, some of Cantor’s leadership colleagues saw in Cantor’s decision to sign a recent letter calling for a unilateral GOP earmark moratorium a symbolic betrayal and a sign that he was cozying up with conservatives to ensure their support in an internal fight.
There's a lot to like about Cantor, and I think that it is pretty telling that the GOP leadership feels that dedication to fiscal responsibility (at least where earmarks are concerned) is a bad thing. My prediction: With the exception of regaining the seats that were lost to some of the Blue Dog Dems in 2006, the GOP takes more devastating losses this fall. The ever-smaller echo chamber in the House GOP decides that it needs to be more moderate and less doctrinally strident to ensure a bigger tent*, and the only changes in leadership are toward that direction. No leadership position for Rep. John Shadegg, Rep. Jeff Flake, etc.
Strap in, people. Election 2008 is gonna be a rough ride.
*(And I say this as someone who volunteered for the Giuliani campaign this fall.)