5 January 2015

The Indispensable John Boehner

John Boehner has been Speaker of the House since 2011.

This week Boehner, who oversaw the election of the largest GOP Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives since the Great Depression, will be re-elected as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for his third term.

Over the course of the next 48 hours the one-party media, still reeling from the fall of the Democratic Majority in the U.S. Senate and the expanding GOP Majority in the U.S. House, will attempt to convince the American people that an upset is in the making when it comes to Boehner continuing his role as Speaker of the House.

As evidence of this they will cite GOP backbenchers scrambling to find someone to knock Boehner off his perch – aghast at what they claim is an unwillingness on Boehner’s part to stand for liberty, freedom, the Constitution of the United States – and, well, pretty much everything they say they are for and that Boehner is against.

Those of us who consider ourselves Conservatives – Center Right, more accurately – find the indispensable John Boehner exactly that:  indispensable.

The voices calling for Boehner’s head are convinced that they alone have the cure for what ails America.

Claiming themselves to be “liberty-voting” and promising not to be “dictators” who are running the Congress, they accuse Boehner of selling out the principles of conservatism.

They charge that Speaker Boehner has violated his oath to the Constitution and that they will not support his candidacy.

Talk radio – the blogosphere – and cable television – will give bandwidth to some of these voices.

In a world in which leadership requires something more than just “you’re wrong, I’m right” declarations of ideological and political purity, John Boehner represents the GOP’s best hope for a governing majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to last long beyond the straining sounds of his critics.

Boehner’s job isn’t to carry the water of a specific faction of the GOP House Majority – nor is it to yield to the demands of a raucous minority within his conference to shut the place down.

It’s to find a way to get Congress to work – and get things done.

It’s to return the U.S. House to regular order – where bills are reviewed in committee – where debate and dialogue can take place.

A body  where Members are given the opportunity to vote without a crisis created by a lack of Presidential leadership, or an intransigent Democratic Senate Majority Leader, forcing them to short-circuit the system of governance that insists on cooperation and compromise.

Cooperation and compromise are both dirty words in an all-or-nothing world in Washington, D.C. – and for those politicians on the extreme of both political spectrums, it’s not only easy – but it’s red meat to their respective base – to call those who employ both as a means to an end of being nothing but sinful to the cause.

The clamor of those who claim that every battle – every vote – every act of the President – or that of Congress – is a threat to democracy, or freedom, or liberty is not only disruptive to the nation’s democracy, but it does a disservice to the real threats to our nation’s ideals.

For those on the right who do the accusing it as though they believe the Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves to learn that John Boehner would deign to find a way to govern with the President or the Democratic Minority in the House and Senate.

I would argue that the grave rolling would be earth shaking if the Founding Fathers were considered to be so one dimensional that they could not find a way to cooperate and compromise to reach common ground at the beginning of the birth of our nation’s democracy.

The Bill of Rights – the Constitution of the United States of America – the very creation of the United States of America – was nothing but cooperation and compromise and common ground.

History tell us that those who want Boehner to be more of what they want – and less of what America needs – is not on their side.

The Founders who came together to create America were not men incapable of finding a way to meet one another in ways that were not always compatible with one-hundred percent of their individual beliefs.

Millions of Americans objected to the extreme acts of government power that have been exercised by President Obama who claims that he is acting within the authority of the U.S. Constitution.

They objected by voting his party out of power in November.

Replacing one extreme view of the construct and justification of the exercise of political power with another one was not what voters intended in the last election.

Any more than the Founders intended that America would be best served if the checks and balances of government simply became stuck in place because men and women of good faith, but decidedly different views, were unable to find a way to work together to get things done.

The defense of liberty in the extreme is, to be sure, not a vice.

But extremism in the defense of one’s belief in preventing others, like John Boehner, from exercising leadership to guarantee it for future generations of Americans surely is.