House Republicans are in a panic because Speaker John Boehner’s chosen successor, Kevin McCarthy, was unable to cope with demands from conservative members. This tempest will pass — a new speaker will emerge — but the GOP faces bigger challenges that impair its ability to govern.

The party’s commanding majority in the House owes much to the success of the Tea Party in recent elections. Now organized into the Freedom Caucus, disaffected conservatives are frustrated by their inability to repeal ObamaCare, stop the nuclear deal with Iran and defund Planned Parenthood.

The Constitution provided the majority in Congress with a trump card: primary authority for taxing and spending, a lever colonial legislatures used to discipline imperious royal governors. These days, however, if the Congress seeks to pressure a president by not passing a budget, the Supreme Court has permitted the chief executive to declare so many government activities essential that a government shutdown becomes his opportunity to merely impose threats — no Social Security checks — and inconveniences — close roads and public spaces — and then blame his opponents for creating chaos.

Arrogating power has become a modern Supreme Court specialty. For example, the issue of gay marriage, whatever its merits, should have been left to Congress and state legislatures to decide. Similarly, if the Constitution provides for Congress to decide what gets spent, then it — not the high court or the president — should determine what is essential in a shutdown.

Republicans need a speaker who can change the terms of the debate — call out the Supreme Court and president on the extra-constitutional conduct — and impose discipline on party members. Oddly enough, former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the prototype.

Along with President Obama’s penchant for unilateral action when he can’t get what he wants from it — for example, the regulation of CO2 emissions or immigration legislation — Congress is reduced to a debating society on many issues.

No speaker can be effective if party members will not accept the outcome of caucus votes. The disloyalty of Freedom Caucus members on the House floor — for example, a dozen voting against Boehner in the 2013 chamber election for speaker — severely handicaps their leader in negotiations with the president and Senate leaders.

Now Republicans are urging Paul Ryan to run for speaker. He is acceptable to moderates and has strong personal relationships with hard right conservatives, but he has demonstrated to be more a technician and skilled negotiator than the kind of charismatic and firm leader Congress so much needs at this moment.

Republicans need a speaker who can change the terms of the debate — call out the Supreme Court and president on the extra-constitutional conduct — and impose discipline on party members. Oddly enough, former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the prototype.

Even more troublesome for Republicans, they do not have a credible economic program. Fanciful ideas like the flat tax, privatizing Social Security and vouchers for health care don’t resonate with voters.

Government economists say inflation is near zero, yet health insurance premiums, cable TV, phone bills and college tuition keep rising — often at an alarming pace.

Banks pay hardly any interest on savings but still charge double-digit rates on credit card debt.

These are big items, and all increasingly in the grasp of monopolies: consolidating health insurance companies and cable companies, big banks and government-supported universities that revel in big-time sports and shake down students.

Hillary Clinton has a new list of give-free stuff — free doctor’s visits, free tuition and the like — that merely puts money in taxpayers’ left pocket by snatching it from their right pocket. But these are attractive to voters because congressional Republicans keep tilting at windmills — pushing bills to repeal ObamaCare that the president can veto — and their presidential candidates — including establishment figures like Jeb Bush and outsiders like Donald Trump — hardly talk about these issues.

Modern Republicans should take a cue from Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, who was a trust buster and populist, and go after exploitive big businesses and state-anointed aristocrats at the football franchises that masquerade as universities.

Peter Morici served as Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission from 1993 to 1995. He is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and a widely published columnist. He is the five time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award. Follow him on Twitter @PMorici1.