By Gary P Jackson
Yeah, it’s a crazy idea, and would never happen, but after seeing some of the nonsensical choices thrown out there lately, it’s the only alternative that actually makes sense.
A few days ago Norman J. Ornstein a “resident scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute penned a ridiculous piece for the Washington Post. Ridiculous not for suggesting that Congress could, and maybe should, look outside it’s ranks to pick a new Speaker, but for who this cat thinks would make a good choice.
Boehner’s dilemma is worsened by the fact that 50 or more House Republicans come from districts that are homogeneous echo chambers, made that way through redistricting and the “Big Sort” that has like-minded people living in close proximity to one another. None of them is threatened in a general election; all could be unseated in a contested primary.
With the Club for Growth and others putting million-dollar bounties on the heads of apostates who vote for any taxes, and with the conservative wind machine of talk radio having its effect, these lawmakers are immune from broader public pressure, the impact of a large election outcome or persuasion by their party leaders. For Boehner, fulfilling his constitutional responsibility as speaker of the House means getting the House to work its will, even if his party does not go along — but doing so imperils his speakership.
What if Boehner doesn’t survive? Go to Article I, Section 2: The Constitution does not say that the speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. In fact, the House can choose anybody a majority wants to fill the post. Every speaker has been a representative from the majority party. But these days, the old pattern clearly is not working.
Even in a multi-ballot marathon, there is no way 17 or more Republicans in the new House would opt for Nancy Pelosi, or any other Democrat. The danger is that a fatigued GOP will settle for a take-no-prisoners firebrand or find another candidate willing to pledge fealty to the radical minority within the majority, turning the current, really bad situation into something worse.
The best way out of this mess would be to find someone from outside the House to transcend the differences and alter the dysfunctional dynamic we are all enduring. Ideally, that individual would transcend politics and party — but after David Petraeus’s stumble, we don’t have many such candidates. It would have to be a partisan Republican.
One option would be Jon Huntsman. By any reasonable standard, he is a conservative Republican: As governor of Utah, he supported smaller government, lower taxes and balanced budgets, and he opted consistently for market-based solutions. As a presidential candidate, he supported positions that were in the wheelhouse of Ronald Reagan. But a Speaker Huntsman would look beyond party and provide a different kind of leadership. He would drive a hard bargain with the president but would aim for a broad majority from the center out, not from the right fringe in. He could not force legislation onto the floor, but he would have immense moral suasion.
Another option would be Mitch Daniels, the longtime governor of Indiana and a favorite on the right. Daniels has shown a remarkable ability to work with Democrats and Republicans, and he is a genuine fiscal conservative — meaning he does not worship at the shrine of tax cuts if they deepen deficits, and he would look for the kind of balanced approach to the fiscal problem put forward by Simpson-Bowles, Rivlin-Domenici and the Gang of Six.
America’s political dysfunction is driven by a Republican Party that has become an insurgent outlier. Unfortunately, even last month’s decisive election has not purged or ameliorated that dysfunction. It may be time for a different kind of out-of-the-box action. Huntsman for speaker!
There are over 300 MILLION Americans and these two are the best Ornstein can come up with? We might as well pack it in.
Let’s look at Mitch Daniels first. Though he’s not completely horrible, he was part of the Bush administration, the bad part, that allowed spending to skyrocket. “Truce” Daniels is the guy who not only said we should more or less give up the fight on social issues, surrendering to the democrats, but also supports such lunacy as a VAT, [value added tax] a scheme that taxes goods at every step of production, as value is “added“. From raw materials to finished product, this unholy tax does nothing but make everything cost more. They’ve had this in the UK for years. The last thing we need is to import more failed Euro style socialism into this country.
Of course, the burning question on Daniels is will his wife let him be Speaker! I’m all for equality and respecting the wishes of one’s spouse, but this is a guy who said he couldn’t run for President because his wife wouldn’t let him. Frankly he makes Speaker Boehner look like Hercules in comparison. Next.
Why oh why anyone in the Republican Party thinks Jon Huntsman is viable for anything but ridicule is so far beyond comprehension it borders on the absolute absurd. Never mind that Huntsman was actually a fairly decent Governor, the fact is, he’s not a Republican. He’s openly hostile to every single principle that the GOP pretends to stand for. Recently he accused the GOP of “not having a soul,” which on the surface sounds about right, but if you read what he bases this on, you realize that Huntsman is a liberal democrat who, for some unknown reason, thinks he should pretend to be a Republican.
It should be clear to the Geniuses of the GOP™ after Huntsman’s total flop of a presidential run that few Republicans want anything to do with Huntsman. He’s a liberal and we already have enough liberals in Washington. Sane Americans want to rid the nation of these varmints, not put more in positions of power!
Then there are Huntsman’s daughters. They hate the GOP, and especially Conservatives, so much they make Megan McCain look like a flag waving, “Don’t Tread on Me” Tea Party Patriot! And like Meggie Mac, they just LOVE talking to the media about their disdain for Conservatives. Just what we don’t need.
David Petraeus is also mentioned. I don’t understand the infatuation with this guy [as a potential political figure] either. We know little of his politics and only assume he’s a Republican. The few things he’s let out make one think he’s a liberal in every way. When I see Petraeus I think Colin Powell not Ike!
Here’s a hint for Ornstein and the rest of the Republican Party’s Thought Leaders™, if the person you are so in love with is openly hostile to the base of the party, as well as all of the principles it [allegedly] stands for, you probably need to re-think your infatuation with said loser.
Not to be outdone, Allahpundit, covering this nonsense over at Hot Air, advanced the notion that Paul Ryan is the answer, though he admits Ryan would be “nuts” to step into this mess and fight Boehner.
Paul Ryan is the exact sort squishy liberal Republicans love. He pretends to be Conservative but is rather “flexible” when you get down to specifics. Throwing out his uninspiring run with Mitt Romney in the past election, this is a guy who’s so-called budget plan, won’t actually balance the budget in my lifetime, and even then, that’s based on the failed idea that there would be no increase in government spending! Yup, Ryan’s plan won’t do anything, even though it’s got over 20 years to do it!
Ryan was also part of the cabal, along with Eric Cantor, that helped Boehner oust Tea Party Conservatives from leadership positions within Congress. Not a ringing endorsement for those of us who WANT Tea Party principles upheld. Those of us who want an out of control government stopped dead in it’s tracks know Ryan ain’t the man for the job.
Ryan has consistently voted for every big spending program, and crony bailing out nonsense, for years. And since out of control government spending is one of the worst problems facing America, I think we can pass on Ryan.
For what it’s worth, many Hot Air readers expressed their own choice for Speaker, overwhelmingly that choice was Sarah Palin.
Speaking of Eric Cantor, evidently he and Boehner are on opposite sides of the “fiscal cliff” argument, with Cantor solidly against the Senate bill that passed in the wee hours of New Years Day. That has led some to say Cantor should face off against Boehner for Speaker. See above, Cantor is no different han Boehner. Also, folks must never forgive Cantor for the fact he joined Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney in early 2009 for the inaugural [and final] “Forget Ronald Reagan …. and All He Stood For …. Listening Tour and Free Pizza Extravaganza.” Yeah, this is certainly the guy we want running the House. Not!
But what of Sarah Palin? Why should she be Speaker? Two words: Proven. Leadership.
As both Mayor of Wasilla and Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin proved she has the skill to bring varied groups together for the common good. As Governor, Sarah was able to bring democrats on board for all of her many signature pieces of legislation. Legislation that shook the entrenched permanent political class to it’s core. One of the reasons she maintained an approval rating in the low 90s and high 80s throughout most of her term as Governor is the fact she knew how to work with everyone to get things done.
When Sarah took office in late 2006 she had a briefcase full of campaign promises and very aggressive legislative goals. When she left office in 2009 every single promise had been kept and monumental legislation had been passed, all in a very bi-partisan way. How did she do this? She knows how to negotiate. She knows that one should negotiate from a position of strength.
As we watch Speaker Boehner negotiate like someone who who lost, rather than won re-election, I’m reminded of the dynamic between Ronald Reagan, who won two historic landslides, and then Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. O’Neill never let Reagan forget that, he too, had been re-elected. He and his democrat party.
America re-elected Barack Obama, though with millions fewer votes than in 2008, the first time in our nation’s history a President has won re-election with fewer votes than they originally won with, America also re-elected John Boehner and a Republican dominant House of Representatives. Our system of government is a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately our “leaders” seem to have forgotten this.
Speaker Boehner has the exact same mandate President Obama has. He has a position of strength but no clue about how to use it. Sarah Palin wouldn’t have this problem!
In reality, the chances of Sarah Palin being chosen Speaker are slim and none, with none being in the lead. Though the Constitution doesn’t specify that the Speaker must come from the elected members, there’s a reason it’s never been done. No way are these gentlemen and gentle women going to give up so much power to an outsider, any outsider, no matter how strong the pedigree. The Speaker is in direct line of succession to the presidency, should something happen to the President. It’s how we ended up with Gerald Ford, though he was appointed VP after Agnew resigned. It was his position as Speaker that put him there.
As Speaker, Sarah Palin would wield incredible power over the budget process as well as all legislation before Congress. Again, Sarah’s record of fiscal discipline is stellar. She brought the corrupt process in Alaska back to reality, took deficits and created multi-billion dollar surpluses. She was the only Governor in the country to actually reduce their state’s liabilities. She cut expenses to the bone, and managed to throw in massive entitlement reform in the mix. Today we see many states fighting out of control employee pension plans that threaten to bankrupt them. Sarah fixed Alaska’s pension system in her spare time.
What’s noteworthy is Governor Sarah Palin accomplished all of this in good times when Alaska, and America was flush. Alaska had oil dollars pouring in at an almost unbelievable rate, and Alaksa’s legislature had dreams of massive new spending. Sarah not only shot that nonsense down, she cut wasteful spending already in place. This is what we need in Washington today!
Though it will never be an issue with the current Republican “leadership,” with all of the corruption, plus Fast and Furious and Benghazi, Obama is ripe for impeachment, as is Joe Biden. If Republicans retook the Senate in 2014, one could envision a Speaker Palin leading the call for impeachment of Obama. The possibilities after that are endless. This is another reason you won’t see a Speaker Palin.
I’m pretty sure Sarah Palin wouldn’t want this job, but anyone who knows her incredible record of public service knows that it would make perfect sense for her to replace Boehner. She has the proven record of getting the seemingly impossible done, and done in bi-patisan fashion. This is something needed in Washington.
If we are going to engage in the fantasy of replacing Boehner with someone from outside of Congress, we might as well fantasize about the very best person for the job, not retreads, failures, or liberal GOP stooges!
Oh, and for what it’s worth, Sarah Palin is the only one with the ability to save the Republican Party from itself. Another reason the Geniuses of the GOP™ want nothing to do with her!