I have been pondering a post putting forward a conviction that is gradually crystallizing that John Boehner may well become a great Speaker of the House, exceeding the accomplishments of his most recent predecessors and securing the reputation as a transformational figure in American politics, a legislator who fulfills the Reagan legacy, a leader who, because of his temperament, completes what Newt Gingrich began (but because of his temperament could not complete).
This piece would focus more on that temperament than his ideology. The notion first started coming into focus when I read portions of his September 30 AEI speech. Even a piece by Michael Barone where the sage pundit opined that “Boehner is not likely to become as prominent a figure as Gingrich or Pelosi” helped this idea grow. Barone contended that the “GOP freshmen will hold Boehner to his big promises”. Indeed, the incoming Speaker has included two, South Carolina’s Tim Scott and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem in the GOP leadership for the 112th Congress.
That he turns to the incoming freshman suggests he’s aware of the ideas which helped them secure their victories.
The latest news to increase my confidence in my fellow Ohio native comes via the indispensable Jennifer Rubin. In his “first press conference as the GOP’s officially favored choice for Speaker“, Boehner offered this on Obamacare’s prospects in the 112th Congress:
We think that Obamacare ruined the best healthcare in the country, we believe it will bankrupt our nation, we believe it needs to be repealed and replaced with commonsense reforms to bring down the cost of health insurance and you’ll see us move quickly enough . . . .
Could there be a more succinct formulation of the problems of Republican opposition to the Democrats’ legislative overhaul? Boehner coupled this articulation of opposition with a promise of action. This is not exactly what he needs to say on the issue at this time. Once he becomes Speaker, we’ll need to see more specifics.
He does seem to be aware of the task ahead of him.