Thursday, January 03, 2013

Speaker Boehner's Demise Greatly Exaggerated

The buzz around the Internet the last few days was kinda predictably crazy.  Speaker Boehner was said to have lost enough support from House Republicans that his speakership was in jeopardy.  Yes, I laughed, too, but many were convinced of it.  By many, I mean those who decided to get interested in politics about five minutes ago and are now outraged when things are not going the way they were told they should. They believe in purity. Some of them are so pure they didn't even bother voting in the 2012 election and now have the nerve to complain about the current disaster in Washington.

Bless their hearts.

For example, Speaker Boehner did his level best to get a decent deal from President Obama and the Senate Democrats concerning the fiscal cliff melodrama.  Being as Republicans only control the House and not the Senate or White House, there will be no such thing as a "good" deal for Republicans (or Americans in general) for the next four years.  We are in for four more of the same.  The American voter decided that the status quo was good enough and returned Democrats to greater power.  Not only did Obama win re-election handily but the Democrats retained the Senate with increased seats and gained seats in the House, too.  In a year when it should have been an easy Republican sweep, we blew it big time.

Criticize Speaker Boehner all you want for not performing a miracle but the man can't do it alone.  He tried to get Plan A through but didn't have amendments offered. Boehner came up with Plan B, That would have at least kept the income tax increase at the one million dollar mark and not at the now $400,000 mark which he thought would probably pass in the Senate but he still didn't have the votes in the House.

The cats simply didn't herd.

Rumors were all over social media of enough Republicans willing to vote against Boehner for Speaker.  No big replacement was offered, mind you, just ousting Boehner.

Turns out that nine Republicans did, in fact, vote against him.

Boehner won a bare majority in a vote that saw nine Republicans vote for other GOP members, and several others who abstained from voting or voted "present." Two years ago, Boehner won all 241 available GOP votes.
Defectors from Boehner included Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who voted for Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and two freshmen, Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), all voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but Cantor himself voted for Boehner.
Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) voted for outgoing member Allen West (R-Fla.). Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted for former Comptroller General David Walker. Speakers of the House do not have to be members of the House, although historically they all have been.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) voted for Amash, and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Pelosi, who had already been elected minority leader, won all but a handful of Democratic votes on the floor. Two years ago, 19 Democrats voted for other Democrats.

Yeah. That is some real smart maneuvering. Please note that Eric Cantor voted for John Boehner. And, Allen West is no longer a member of the House.  Also, Pelosi lost more support from Democrats in her vote two years ago than Boehner lost this time. Good luck with that power of reasoning.

WASHINGTON, DC – Following is the full text of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) address to the opening session of the 113th Congress:

Leader Pelosi, members of the House and Senate, dear family and friends, fellow countrymen:We meet again at democracy’s great port of call.  Every two years, at this hour, the Constitution brings a new order to this House.  It is an interlude for reflection, a glimpse of old truths.To our new members and their families, welcome.  You are likely feeling awestruck right about now.  History runs through here.  And now you are among a select few to share in this privilege. For those who are returning, who have walked these aisles before, maybe it’s time we feel awestruck again.The way our founders envisioned it, the republic would be led by citizens who recognize that the blessing of governing ourselves requires that we give something of ourselves.  Everything depended on this.  So they made each other – and their successors – swear an oath of allegiance.In a few moments, I will take this oath for the twelfth time as representative of the Eighth District of Ohio.  It is word for word the same oath we all take. Note that it makes no mention of party, faction, or title … contains no reference to agendas or platforms – only to the ConstitutionThe one addition we dare to make, as George Washington did at the first inaugural, is to invoke the assistance of our Heavenly Father.This covenant makes us servants of posterity.  It calls us to refuse the pull of passing interests and follow the fixed star of a more perfect union. Put simply, we are sent here not to be something, but to do something – to do the right thing.It’s a big job, and it comes with big challenges.Our government has built up too much debt.  Our economy is not producing enough jobs.  These are not separate problems. At $16 trillion and rising, our national debt is draining free enterprise and weakening the ship of state.The American Dream is in peril so long as its namesake is weighed down by this anchor of debt.  Break its hold, and we begin to set our economy free.  Jobs will come home.  Confidence will come back. We do this not just to boost GDP or reduce unemployment, but to secure for our children a future of freedom and opportunity.  Nothing is more important. As Washington wrote in his farewell address, we should not “throw upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.” Well, the burden is ours and so is the opportunity. There is no substitute for the wisdom of the people.  We are their servants.  As Speaker, I pledge to listen and do all I can to help you carry out the oath you are about to take.Because in our hearts, we know it is wrong to pass on this debt to our kids and grandkids.  Now we have to be willing – truly willing – to make this right. Public service was never meant to be an easy living.  Extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary leadership.So if you have come here to see your name in lights or to pass off political victory as accomplishment, you have come to the wrong place.  The door is behind you.If you have come here humbled by the opportunity to serve; if you have come here to be the determined voice of the people; if you have come here to carry the standard of leadership demanded not just by our constituents but by the times, then you have come to the right place.There is a time to every purpose under Heaven.  For the 113th Congress, it is a time to rise.  When the day is over, and the verdict is read, may it be said that we well and faithfully did our duty to ensure freedom will endure and prevail. So help us God. 
The sentences in bold are my doing.  Do you think those most in need of hearing that actually thought he was speaking to them?  Me either.

The job of Speaker of the House is different now than in previous years. Even in the glory days of Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution, the American pubic was disgusted with the government shutdown brought about by Republican overreach.  Republicans do not control the White House, much less the Senate so Boehner is tasked with getting the best deal he can when it comes to tax cuts and spending. Barack Obama has made it perfectly clear that spending will continue throughout the next four years.

It is past time for Republicans to come together and save the country as best as they realistically can.

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