by Rod D. Martin
October 11, 2015
Some thoughts on the Speaker’s race:
1. The American people elected one of the largest Republican House majorities in history, and certainly the largest in almost a century, in successive elections — 2010, 2012, 2014 — entirely and only because there was a Tea Party. Plenty of people will disagree. They’re lying, either to you or to themselves. No honest observer can say otherwise.
2. John Boehner lost his Speakership because he stood at odds with the majority the American people sent him from the day he was entrusted with it. Whether he’s a good guy, whether he’s a good conservative, none of that is at issue. His tactical decisions not once but virtually always stood at odds with the will of not just the Republican primary base but the American electorate.
3. John Boehner leaves with the worst approval ratings of any Speaker in 30 years, even Nancy Pelosi. This is not because “an extremist faction” dislikes him, or because he could “get things done.” Americans broadly dislike him because the only things he actually got done were give way to Obama and thwart the promises made when America voted for that historic majority.
4. The idea that Boehner and friends represent the “sane” wing of the Party and the only thing standing between us and the “crazies”, is the position only of condescending Beltway types who need to get out more. They tell us Republicans would be doomed with a Dan Webster or a Jim Jordan? They also told us that the Tea Party would result in a Congressional minority, which is exactly what their “leadership” produced in 2006 and 2008. They live in Bizarroland. They are the battered wives of the Democrat Party. They need a halfway house, not control of the House.
5. Electing a “compromise Speaker” who will continue in Boehner’s vein is, more than anything else, a certain way to blow the 2016 election, since it will show the large majority of Americans who gave us that large majority of House seats that the Republican Party is a pack of liars who will never follow through on its campaign promises (unlike the GOP that did every single thing promised in Newt’s Contract With America), and indeed, that between elections, it openly holds them in contempt. Which, at least as to the Boehner wing of the Party, is true.
6. Electing just any conservative Speaker isn’t enough either: we need one who will follow through with concrete action — which Boehner would not — and we need one who can actually force a Democrat President to do what the House wants — as Newt repeatedly did (balanced budgets, welfare reform, etc.) in the 1990s. Yes, Virginia, it can be done.
7. It’s hard to see how, after the last five House elections, this could even be up for debate. And that’s just the point. Not merely some “faction” of our Party but indeed the majority of the American people who gave us this massive House majority are having a hard time seeing why we’re even having this discussion.
Note to Washington: you guys may not have noticed that our Presidential primary is being dominated by outsiders who hate you. But no one else has missed it. It’s not because you’re “centrist.” It’s because you’re untrustworthy. Another lecture on the differences between campaigning and governing isn’t making that better.
UPDATE: There was a lot of back-and-forth on this over on Facebook, the most important feedback — with my response — now posted here in “Debating the Speaker’s Race.” Take a minute and read it.