This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP) Peter Ferrara was published December 12, 2012 on The American Spectator website.
John Boehner is a good man in a hard place. He has served in public office as a lifelong conservative, not a RINO. His position on the Obama tax increases has been better than almost any other Republican who has been speaking out lately, given the Obama/Democrat election victories — close loopholes and deductions for $800 billion in new revenue over a decade, but no increases in rates.
But face it. Boehner is no match for Obama on the national stage. He cannot press the economic arguments articulately. He does not have a compelling personality. Obama is running circles around Boehner with outrageous falsehoods, and Boehner cannot raise a peep to challenge him. Boehner has managed to allow Obama to turn the Bush middle class tax cuts, passed by a Republican majority Congress over 10 years ago, into the Obama middle class tax cuts, supposedly opposed by the House majority Republicans.
Reagan-era Democrat Speaker Tip O’Neill used to say Reagan’s budgets were dead on arrival. He used to counter Reagan proposals by saying they just could not get through the House. After the Reagan landslide reelection of 1984, O’Neill responded that the people had elected a Democrat House majority too, and they had as much right to pursue their policies in the House as Reagan had to pursue his policies as President. And O’Neill had a personality that was easily dismissive of questioners.
But from Boehner, nothing like any of that.
Of course, Boehner has a special problem that would be faced by any other Republican Speaker — a national news media that voluntarily behaves in serving the ruling Democrat regime like the old Soviet media was forced to under compulsion. The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, these are shamefully dishonest institutions. They are not remotely practicing journalism. They are political activists posing as journalists.
And this is no longer a contention over which reasonable people can differ.
This so rightly called “lamestream” media fawningly covers all the dishonest, Calculated Deception that Obama proclaims over and over. But it will not cover what Boehner has to say in response.
Still Newt Gingrich had a way of dominating the narrative, and getting his message through. Though even conservatives have failed to notice that while Clinton may have used the presidential bully pulpit to win the PR war over the government shutdowns of the 1990s, it was Gingrich who won the substance. Federal discretionary spending actually declined in nominal dollar terms for a year, which never happens in Washington, and total federal spending declined by one seventh as a percentage of GDP by 2000, a dramatic slash in Big Government on top of the Reagan cut (total federal spending under Reagan dropped by one tenth as a percentage of GDP despite the defense buildup that won the Cold War without firing a shot). Gingrich also got the Democrat President to go along with the biggest capital gains tax cut in American history, almost a 30% rate cut, which led to the biggest run of federal surpluses in history. Gingrich’s House majority was also re-elected for a dozen years, which had not happened since Babe Ruth was playing baseball.
But the biggest reason Boehner must go as Speaker is found in the Constitution. As Jeff Lord reminded us a month ago, the Speaker of the House does not have to be an elected member of the House. Anyone can serve as Speaker!!!
Think about the possibilities and the opportunities that creates. Republicans can pick the most articulate, knowledgeable, lucid leader possible to fire volleys back at Obama and the Democrats.
That is what is needed now most of all. An articulate Republican who can take on Obama and his dishonest, false narratives. About the rich, the budget, spending, taxes and debt. About energy and the environment. About the Obama record, and the longest trail of broken promises in world history.
Steve Forbes could be named Speaker of the House. Or Larry Kudlow. Or Steve Moore. Or Paul Gigot. Or Grover Norquist. Or Rush Limbaugh. Or Sean Hannity. Or Mark Levin. Someone who can talk, explain, tutor, and at last who knows what he is talking about. How about R. Emmett Tyrrell? Hell, they could even bring Gingrich back.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy are perfectly capable of managing the day to day affairs of the House and getting legislation through. What the Republicans need as Speaker of the House is something they don’t have now — someone who can speak.
But how is it even possible for this to happen? Hasn’t Boehner already been re-elected as Speaker?
Shortly after the election, the newly elected House Republican Conference met and chose Boehner to serve as Speaker again. But that is not legally official until the new House votes on it sometime after the new House convenes on January 3.
Moreover, all it would take on that vote is for just 16 House Republicans to abstain from voting for Boehner. The result would be a tie between Boehner and Pelosi. Gridlock. Let the House Republican Conference caucus and pick our new Moses.
New blood is needed as Senate Republican Minority Leader as well. Mitch McConnell is also a good man with a conservative record. He is supposed to be a wicked good parliamentarian. I haven’t seen anything come of that.
The problem is he has the personality and appearance of an undertaker. Alfred Hitchcock would be more compelling. While the Senate Minority Leader has to be one of the 45 remaining Senate Republicans, we have much better options there. How about Marco Rubio? How about Rand Paul? Senate Republicans can make history by choosing highly articulate freshman Ted Cruz. These gentlemen can talk, they have rock star personalities and demeanor. They are all in the ring to win the fight.
Thus newly led into battle, our new leaders can inform President Obama that his idea of granting him authority to raise the debt limit as he pleases is dead on arrival, and not to be discussed anymore. They can emphasize that last point to the Marxist infiltrator Washington press corps too, through the haze of the bong smoke any time those hippies in suits gather.
The House can then pass a bill making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, and send everyone home subject to recall when the Senate acts. The new leaders then go on national tour to explain to a very retrogressive nation today that the next step according to the law books, as can be read in the civics books for those who can still read, is for the Democrat Senate to act on the House passed bill, and then for the differences to be ironed out in Conference. President Obama, we will call you when we are ready for you, to sign the bill that the Congress of the United States has passed.