That this is the congressional strategy has begun to seem clear to me, although it's a radical innovation. Hastert and DeLay's insight seems to be that a bill that gets 218 votes in the House is just as much the law as one that gets 430. And for every vote they add on to the necessary minimum majority, they might have to compromise in some unnecessary way, whether with Democrats or their own fiscal conservatives. In other words, they see every vote over a bare majority as the equivalent of leaving money on the table or overbidding in an auction.Now I understand that if you're interested in pushing the most conservative bill possible through Congress, you want only 218 votes, so that you reduce the amount of compromising. But this has nothing to do with how many conservatives you want in Congress.