As November approaches, Republicans should consider their choices for the next House Speaker. If they succeed in showing Nancy Pelosi the proverbial door, the GOP will have a historic opportunity to present and effect their best ideas.
Before assuming John Boehner to be the obvious choice, here’s my top 5 traits we need from a new House Speaker. See if Boehner makes the cut and feel free to present your own list below.
Should be self-explanatory. Don’t be like her.
Since Pelosi’s reign began, government deficits tripled, the economy tanked, Wall Street was bailed out, two car companies were nationalized, and incoherent thousand-page bills became the norm. Need I say more?
Well I will. Beyond the simple facts, Pelosi is one of the most liberal speakers we’ve ever had – she represents San Francisco of all places. Pelosi has trouble putting words together and looks like she keeps a Botox clinic in the Capitol basement. Her essence is vicious and partisan, clearly not representing mainstream America.
Now that we know what we don’t want, let’s take a look at some positive qualities.
2. Ability to articulate freedom
If there’s one thing Republicans failed to communicate in the last ten years, it’s their principles. We could neither talk the talk, nor walk the walk. Under Bush, the GOP spent and spent and spent, expanding government to historic levels. They got away from supporting small government, liberty-loving ideals, and Americans forgot what it meant to be a Republican.
The next speaker needs to be fearless in the defense of our founding principles. Until the 2012 election, the speaker will be the de facto leader of the party and will be responsible for messaging. Americans like the Constitution, and any movement to shrink government ought to include it in its message.
This leader will also need good rhetoric to fix the misconception that Republicans stand for corporate interests and explain why free markets benefit everyone in the economy. He/she must be able to describe the problems with entitlement spending and the solutions we need to fix the coming debt crisis.
Americans demand action from Washington. Usually, this favors the Democrats because they always have more roles for the federal government to step into. This time, Republicans need to have their own ideas — their own “change” — to offer. The government is filled with problems, the biggest being out-of-control spending; now is the time for serious reform.
The GOP must be creative in cutting government. The need is growing to comprehensively reduce the welfare state, and Republicans can’t be afraid to touch the “third rail,” entitlements, when proposing new ideas.
The next speaker will go head-to-head with Obama on the budget and other major bills. Without a good policy mind as speaker, the GOP could be outmaneuvered. “No” will not be enough this time around.
4. Love for Federalism
Washington has been on a rampage of usurping power from the states. The federal government cannot, nor should it, do everything. State and local politicians are much closer to the unique problems of the people in their districts. One-size-fits-all answers are as costly as they are inefficient.
The next speaker can’t be afraid to turn power back to the states.
Yes, I made that word up, but I think you get what it means.
One moment that comes to mind is when Boehner dropped the entire stimulus bill – over 1400 pages – on the floor of the House, sending a thud across the chamber reminding everyone watching of its massive size. I don’t think Boehner fits characteristics #1-4 very well, but he certainly owns this one.
Another great example is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It seems like everyday I turn on the news and he’s either fixing his state’s epic problems or smacking down some uppity reporter. We need more politicians who aren’t afraid to stick their necks out to defend what they believe.
To wrap this up, here are some congressmen I think you ought to consider for the next speaker: Paul Ryan, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, John Boehner, Mike Pence, David Drier, and Eric Cantor. Again, feel free to add to this list and present your own ideal qualities below.