Speaker Boehner Should Go Immediately

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

After House Speaker John Boehner’s departure, it’s doubtful a more conservative successor could bring harmony to the GOP caucus, because old guard House Republicans are angry.

Following Boehner’s "retirement" announcement, Washington-based The Hill quoted insider Rep. Charlie Dent who has long denigrated Republican conservatives:

"A fired-up House Ethics Committee Chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), speaking…after Boehner dropped the bombshell…that he’ll leave Congress…, ripped into hard-line conservatives. He accused them of opposing Boehner at every turn…

"’Any jackass can kick down a barn door. It takes a carpenter to hang one. We need a few more carpenters around here. Everybody knows it,’ Dent said…

"[Boehner allies] argue that the lawmakers who repeatedly tangled with Boehner aren’t team players… Boehner repeatedly saw conservatives vote against the GOP rules governing debate on legislation. Those votes are supposed to be tests of party loyalty."

There’s the crux: "Party loyalty," or loyalty to institutional leadership, is the half of Washington’s dual system of loyalties rejected by conservative Republicans. Elected conservatives give loyalty where it belongs, not to leadership. Boehner, Dent and other nostalgic career House GOP regulars don’t get it, don’t like it and imply, childishly, that colleagues who merely disagree with them about whom elected representatives should serve are "jackasses."

In his announcement, Boehner made a revealing, discomfiting pronouncement: "The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution [Congress]…" Wrong! The first obligation of all representatives – from the Speaker down — is to their constituents and to America’s Constitution, security, prosperity, and fiscal and moral welfare.

The House doesn’t exist to institutionalize "party loyalty" or enable careerists to carve out comfortable sinecures. Tellingly, Boehner claimed he would have survived a speakership recall with "400 votes." Four hundred votes (out of 435) would include every House Democrat who, like Boehner, accepts the status quo.

Granted, there are limits to a Republican Congress’ ability to correct prior policy abuses by a progressive president supported by equally-liberal, unified Democrats. But one of the few recent conservative policy wins – the expiration of federal funding for the Export-Import Bank, a corporate-welfare fossil — occurred over Boehner’s protests. Before his departure, Boehner and his GOP Senate counterpart have promised to sneak Ex-Im reauthorization into another "must pass" bill.

Republican leadership, Charlie Dent included, complain that conservatives demand unwinnable, even "counterproductive" fights with the administration. But, after being awarded majorities to undertake one, GOP leadership never acted on their own campaign and post-election promises of a "productive" strategy to force Democratic votes against and presidential vetoes of popular conservative measures.

Boehner never held House votes on a comprehensive replacement for Obamacare, on tax reform or other conservative priorities. Instead, while he and party insiders denounced and insulted conservatives who created Republican congressional majorities, Boehner’s agenda sanctioned — rubber-stamped – Obamacare, the Iran nuclear deal, spending and executive amnesty.

Boehner’s failure resulted from his party’s misplaced animosities and how much Republicans promised compared to how little he and fellow leaders even attempted. Speaker Boehner should leave immediately.