Seeking Leaders

Elected to Congress in 1990, Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) rose to power as a member of the Gang of Seven and has since served House Republican Conference Chairman, Speaker of the House, and Republican Majority Leader.

I live in southwest Ohio, but not in his district. Representative Boehner occasionally submits to the Cincinnati Enquirer and appears with the Cincinnati broadcast media; thus allowing me to notice his words and actions during nonelection times, during the campaign season, and during the post-election aftermath. He wrote for this past Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer, so I’m using his own text to ask him questions. Several times I will use other pertinent quotes.

“President-elect Barack Obama’s election symbolizes the hunger for change the American people so deeply feel with respect to national politics – a hunger that transcends party and ideological lines.” Representative Boehner, how do you plan to transcend party and ideological lines when your PAC is one of the largest in Congress and you speak more party-first comments than country first?

“It’s time for the losing to stop. And my commitment to you is that it will,” For those who don’t know, a seven-term congressman in the district adjacent to Boehner’s in GOP-dominant southwestern Ohio lost.

Mr. Boehner, so how does our “hunger that transcends party and ideological lines” fit into your earlier comments about wanting to lead the rebuilding of the Republican Party and your criticism of the president-elect’s section of White House chief of staff?

“This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.”

“America remains a center-right country.” So Representative Boehner, how do you tend to lead a party for center-right America when you own party members didn’t really support its own center-right candidate?

Congressman, I must respectfully interject a related question here. Center-right and center-left one major thing in common, and that’s center. The both power wings of your party, the staunch conservatives and the Christian wing, are well known as uncompromising. As a party leader, what do you do?

“I’ve urged my Republican colleagues to work with me to renew the fight for smaller, more accountable government, and renew it we must.” You were elected to Congress in 1990. To renew a fight also means it ceased. When and why did your party stop fighting for those principles?

“Republicans stand ready to work with Obama for reforms that address the concerns of the American people and reflect their center-right priorities.” Representative Boehner, how do you plan to represent center-right America with neither of the leading contenders for your party’s number 2 and number 3 in the House being center-right? (A staunch conservative (Cantor – VA) and Christian conservative (Pence – IN)

“Obama has sketched a troubling policy roadmap that will be run through a Congress that has been purchased powerful left-leaning special interest groups. … there is a danger that the potential for cooperation could be poisoned by divisive actions by Democrats …. the president-elect’s party to consolidate power by rewarding benefactors, rather than focusing on the priorities of a clear majority of Americans.” Excuse me Representative. Boehner, but I’ll limit myself to two questions on this. (1) How does your politics of fear appease our hunger for politics transcending party and ideological lines? (2) Please tell us about the right-leaning special interest groups that you and your party support.

“Considerable power has been entrusted to the Democratic Party, which now controls two of the three branches of government. The pressure to overreach will be ever-present.” Your opening sentence stated, “The challenges facing our great nation today are significant and arguably unprecedented.” Representative Boehner, your party controlled the same two branches for six years. Besides pointing to the last two years of a Democratic-controlled Congress, what role did those six years play in our current problems?”

One final question Representative Boehner: Several times you mentioned about President-elect Obama crossing the aisle to work with Republicans, yet at no time mentioning your willingness and the willingness of your party to reach out to the president-elect or the Democratic Party. Why not?

Thank you Representative Boehner for your time.

Closing

Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina declared: “We have got to clean up, reform and rebuild the Republican Party before we can ask Americans to trust us again.” Since John Boehner believes Americans already trusts the Republican Party, to me Senator Demint’s comments serve as a starting point that includes across-the-board changes in party leadership.

Through the years, Rep. Boehner has and continues to demonstrate a party-first approach over country first during a time when bipartisan leadership is essential. Thankfully he now faces a challenge from Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA); and time will tell if Mr. Lungren leads from the center. Then again, do congressional Republicans even want the center, let alone move in that direction.

So what about the other side of the aisle? I must also say that if anyone thinks Rep. Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are immune from similar attitudes and behaviors, they too are blind. Surely the same is true about both parties on the senate side of the Capitol.

Yep, although wishful thinking, I would be thrilled to also see new leadership in both parties in the spirit that Representative Boehner mentioned: “The hunger for change the American people so deeply feel with respect to national politics – a hunger that transcends party and ideological lines.”