House Republicans unanimously elected their nominee for speaker of the House in the 112th Congress on Wednesday. While Republicans were meeting to select their leader, House Democrats were doing the same. For Democrats, however, their meeting was reportedly contentious and fiery, with outgoing House Speaker Pelosi pulling out all the stops to remain as leader of her party despite the rout she and the party took at the ballot box just a few weeks ago. After a vote of 150-43, Pelosi will in fact become the House minority leader for the next Congress.
In the aftermath of the November midterms, an important change will take place when the full House elects Ohio Rep. John Boehner as the new Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.
Although there will be a new sheriff in the House, he will not run Democrats out of town but will instead work with them in a respectful and constructive way for the good of the country.
The Democrats rode into town in January 2009 like the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. They controlled all branches of government with high majorities and did what they wanted to see done -- as opposed to what the people needed to be done. They talked bipartisanship and transparency but never practiced it. They passed 2,000-page bills that no one read and never gave legislators or the people the chance or the time to fully understand and absorb the content of bills before they passed them. We all remember what Speaker Pelosi said with regard to the passage of the 2,000+ page health care bill: “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it.”
Republicans must be different in their leadership and administration of the House if they have any hope of remaining in power beyond 2012.
Speaker-elect Boehner is the right guy at the right time to restore confidence, leadership and respect to a body whose approval ratings hover around 17 percent, according to Gallup.
The new speaker knows that in order to restore respect for the House he must lead by example. One of his first acts will be scrap the Air Force Special Mission “Pelosi Air” planes to travel back and forth to his home state in favor of commercial flights in coach class.
If government is requiring citizens to sacrifice and be fiscally responsible in tough economic times then their government officials should do the same. The Hill newspaper recently reported that Pelosi used Air Force aircraft for 85 trips from March 2009 to June 2010, and her use of government aircraft cost more than $2 million over two years.
Seriously, review these documents for yourself and you can see that Nancy Pelosi repeatedly turned indispensable Air Force aircraft into congressional party planes.
For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, D.C., through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq, May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Creme, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
Boehner this past September vowed that if Republicans took control of the House that they would return to the constitutional principles of governing and set forth a “Pledge to America” that will be the measure by which his leadership will be judged. In the “pledge,” House Republicans, under the leadership of Boehner, made the following promise to the people in their preamble:
"With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America."
Boehner promises to repeal health care, create jobs, reduce taxes, return to fiscal responsibility, end earmarks, reduce the size and expense of government, bring bills before the House and the people with sufficient time to read and digest its content, work constructively with the Minority, practice the necessary oversight that is the core responsibility of Congress and demand the highest ethical behavior from its members.
If Republicans stay true to their principles it will go a long way in restoring faith, honor and respect for the House by the public and will create the atmosphere by which America’s toughest problems can be solved.
Leadership requires leaders to do what they say. Leadership also requires that leaders listen to the people who put them in power to do what is needed by the people as opposed to what legislator's want done for their own selfish and partisan purposes.
Pelosi led her party but did not lead the House.
A speaker is elected by all 435 Members of the House and therefore represents the entire body.
Boehner realizes that, understands that and respects that.
As we can see, Boehner is no Pelosi and doesn't have very big shoes to fill.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion.
Bradley A. Blakeman is a political consultant and Republican Media Consultant and was a member of President George W. Bush's Senior White House Staff 2001-2004. Follow him on Twitter @BlakemanB.