Speaker John Boehner, The Symbol of Failure
On January 3, 2013, the United States House of Representatives will re-elect Representative John Boehner as the Speaker of the House. Whether or not he merits the Speakership is debatable; however, he has been a good servant to his financial backers and those financial backers also financed the campaigns of the same group of Republicans who will decide Boehner’s fate. They cannot vote for someone else for Speaker without biting the hand of the people who gave them money.
That said, there are good reasons for Republicans to not re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Three top reasons are as follows:
Reason 1: An Icon of Failure
Gallup Poll – Approval Rating for Congress
In August of this year the approval rating for Congress dropped to 10 percent for the only the second time. The first time was in February of this year. Recently named the ‘Do Nothing Congress,’ they have been the most non-productive Congress in seventy years. Some might blame both political parties; however, two years ago Republicans announced that their strategy would be to block President Obama from passing any significant legislation. Their success at this has resulted in the failure of Congress to do the job for which they were elected.
As Speaker of the House and the leader of the Republicans in Congress, Boehner is the symbol of all that has failed in Washington. November’s election demonstrated the public’s dislike for the tactics used by Republicans to obstruct progress when President Obama won every battleground State except North Carolina, and swept 332 electoral votes when only 270 were necessary. Republicans were also turned out of the Senate and House as Democrats gained significant ground in Congress.
Despite this stinging defeat, Boehner continued to use the same tactics of obstruction by spending this month leading America to the Fiscal Cliff. The irony is that Boehner has not only lost the confidence of the American people, he has lost the confidence of his own party.
In late December he attempted to move Republicans out of the hot seat by proposing a ‘Plan B’ that would have not passed the Senate, but would have given him the opportunity blame Democrats in the Senate for sending America over the Fiscal Cliff. It was a tactic that might have succeeded except for the betrayal of Boehner by his own party when he had to withdraw the legislation because it was not going to pass for lack of Republican support.
Boehner is a symbol of failure and he will carry the stamp of disgrace on his sleeve into the next two years. That means the Republicans will have to overcome Boehner’s public image in 2014 if they re-elect him as Speaker now.
Reason 2: Opportunity of New Blood
If someone else were to be elected as Speaker they would start fresh without all the political baggage Boehner brings with him. Boehner is the uncle no one wants at their family event. The right-wing extremists think he’s too liberal and the rest of the Republicans in the House are just glad they aren’t Boehner. He is seen as deceptive, condescending, and the pawn of the filthy rich. Almost anyone other than Representative Eric Cantor or Representative Paul Ryan would have a better public image to start with than Boehner.
Republicans are facing multiple legislative losses in the next session. The best hope is to drop Boehner’s obstructionist style and begin rebuilding the respect that Republicans have lost in the last two years. By working with the Democrats in early 2013, a new Republican Speaker could regain negotiation strength during the remainder of the 113th Congress. That will increase Republican’s chances in 2014 and put conservatives back on more equal footing. With Boehner as Speaker, Republicans may face humiliation after humiliation as the right wing extremist wag Boehner’s tail during the next session.
Reason 3: Shock Value
Boehner’s re-election will be seen as a business-as-usual when no one wants a repeat of the 112th Congress. A new Speaker will have a shock value that might give hope to Americans. While a majority of Americans do not support the right-wing extremist political agenda, Boehner has continued to pander to them in order to keep a majority. That majority is based on offending most of the other Representatives and a majority of American on a regular basis. A new Speaker might decide to turn the tables on the right-wing extremist by adopting a more moderate view. That would leave the extremists to either fall in line with the Republican mainstream or accept that America will be under rule by the Liberals for the near future.
Few Options Leave A Bleak Future
Sadly, Republicans are bound by fate and money to re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives. This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion with the forces in play too strong to stop, but the results of disaster obvious to all who witness it. The outcome will be a deepening dislike for Republicans and their tactics and that will result in the 2014 elections continuing the down slide of conservative participation in American politics.