30 September 2015

Notes from Norm: Act Selflessly

The decision by John Boehner to step aside and resign not only his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, but also his role as Speaker of the House, was a gift to the nation and to the Republican Party.

In time, the nation will come to appreciate his act of selflessness.

In due time, the Republican Party should come to understand why his decision is an opportunity to strengthen itself.

Speaker Boehner’s sacrifice should not be wasted.

To be sure I believe that John Boehner has been one of the nation’s most effective leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives.  In an era in which the Speaker of the House lacks the ability to rule with the kind of iron fist of former Speakers in bygone times, it takes a special combination of humility, passion, intellect and integrity to get unlike minded people to work together as a Team.

Boehner kept his Team together and returned them along with the largest Republican Majority since the Great Depression in 2014.  

Boehner stood up to a President who increasingly disregarded the constitutional role of Congress while he was ignoring the Constitution.

While some of his critics will claim he did not do enough to overturn the President’s policies Boehner understood that his role wasn’t to be the loyal opposition to the White House.

His job was to be the leader of the U.S. House – and to return the body to a time when regular order got things done — and to be an effective spokesperson for conservative values.

On that measure alone he succeeded.

Boehner’s departure from his role as Speaker wasn’t done without regard to the consequences of his action.  On the contrary, Boehner instinctively realized that there’s a time and a place to step forward and a time and place to step aside.

In stepping aside Boehner has guaranteed that new blood and leadership will have the opportunity to step forward.  They will have their own ideas, their own strategies and strengths and their own following within the GOP controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

What these newly elected leaders do with this power and authority is up to them.

It is also up to the hundreds of Republican men and women who occupy the U.S. House of Representatives and will vote to select their new leadership team.

If the opponents of John Boehner truly believed that he had to go before they were willing to put aside their individual agenda for the greater good of the party, and more importantly, the country, they will now be tested to keep their word.

With Boehner gone there should no longer be reason for the agitation for the sake of agitation.  No reason for the kind of malcontent that bedeviled Boehner despite his bringing more Republicans into the U.S. House since the Depression.

It is not important what the likes of Ted Cruz have to say about John Boehner, or for that matter, what goes on in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cruz,and others like him, continue to marginalize themselves by focusing on undermining members of their own party rather than focusing on the party that opposes the core beliefs he purports to advance.

It begs the question – if Democrats unequivocally oppose the conservative values and policies put forward by John Boehner and hundreds of other Republicans in the House, and the Senate – why fight amongst ourselves when the opposition is truly on the other side of the aisle?

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives need to move beyond the Boehner Era with gratitude for his service, his leadership and his selflessness.

They will honor his public service by focusing on what they can accomplish – together.  

When the American people gave Republicans control of the House and the Senate they did so with the belief that the party would do more than simply stand in the way of President Obama.

They expected the bodies to work together to address the still languishing economy – to take action to address the nation’s immigration and border security issues – to take the fight to terrorism at home and abroad – to restore confidence in America’s future.

They did not send Republicans to historical majorities to pick fights with one another.

In this decidedly new era it is time for Republicans in the House – to tear down the walls of factionalism and reach out to one another.  

If a middle ground cannot be found, then find common ground.

Work from there and begin a new chapter of renewal for America’s future.

Opponents of John Boehner insisted their opposition was rooted in their belief that he did not live up to Republican promises to restore America to greatness.

Prove yourself right.

Show America that you are ready to move beyond the loyal opposition to a Speaker of the House and become the loyal supporters of a Republican Majority ready to govern and act on the issues that are key to the future of a greater America.