When House Republicans convene this week to elect their leaders, Newt Gingrich's will be the only name put in nomination for Speaker. But such a show of confidence would have been much sweeter had Gingrich not spent last week beating back a minirevolt among former loyalists.

Trouble began when Oklahoma's Steve Largent, a pro-football Hall of Famer and star of the 1994 freshman class, suggested on television that the Speaker step aside until he could resolve the current ethics investigation of him. Soon other members of Congress were joining in, as were some influential conservative thinkers, including Paul Weyrich, the television...

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