Is the House of Representatives in sheer chaos as some in the mainstream media claim? Or, is the House in a powerful transformation? Is this business as usual? Or, is this part of the 2016 critical presidential election? Is this simply a disagreement over tactics? Or, is this part of the end of the Republican Party (as we know it) that I predicted months ago? Let’s discuss these questions now …
Chaos or Transformation – What’s Going on in the House of Representatives?
The media calls it chaos. I think they are wrong. What we are seeing today is the transformation of the House leadership into a different style and a different model.
Voters in the Republican Party are frustrated and angry with the Republican Party because Republican members of the House and Senate have failed to adequately fight for the issues they want in Congress. Also, they are upset because Obama’s radical, left-wing agenda has not been stopped. ObamaCare has not been repealed. The border has not been closed down. Illegal immigration continues unabated. Terrorists are at our doorsteps. Spending is out of control. The National Debt has gone through the roof and stands above $18 trillion with no end of deficit spending in sight. Americans see politicians running our country recklessly down the road to economic bankruptcy.
In turn, House Republicans have gotten the message from angry voters. Voters are demanding ACTION from Congress on the big issues of the day.
That’s why the Freedom Caucus (about 40 members) and possibly another 100 members allied with their thinking started to make serious demands on the House leadership. That’s why John Boehner was forced to resign. That’s why Kevin McCarthy gave up running for Speaker of the House. That’s why Paul Ryan is looking less likely to run for Speaker or even take the job, if it were offered.
What was the Old Model of House Leadership?
The old model of House leadership was simple. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t confront the president too much. Give the president what he wants. The American people will then see the other party is to blame for the problems we face. Then, we will win the White House back in 2016 and we will also keep the House and Senate. With the Federal government finally under complete Republican control, we will then have the chance to fix the nation’s problems.
Part of the old model of House leadership was a strong Speaker with power to punish members who didn’t follow the legislative priorities and decisions of the Speaker, the leadership, and the committee chairmen. For example, the leadership didn’t like members making amendments to bills. This has frustrated many House members. Those members who tried to bypass the leadership were punished by losing committee assignments, etc.
What is the Emerging, New Model for the House Leadership?
Taking their cue from angry voters, House members want to confront Obama at every turn before January 20, 2017 when the new president is sworn into office. Even if their legislation is vetoed by the president, they feel obligated to fight for the agenda of the voters who sent them to Congress.
Within the Republican conference, power would be less centralized. Members can push for those legislative objectives they believe are in the best interest of voters, rather than sit back and wait for a presidential election victory in November 2016.
Who will Get Elected Speaker – Daniel Webster, Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn, Newt Gingrich or Someone Else?
One thing seems certain. The next Speaker will have to agree ahead of time to the new model of House shared leadership. The old authoritarian model is out. Here are some possibilities:
1. Daniel Webster – Proven leadership skills in the Florida House as Speaker. Changed their power model. But, his House seat has just been gerrymandered from 4% Republican edge to an 18% Democratic edge. Might not be reelected in 2016.
2. Paul Ryan – Highly regarded Republican House leader, ran for VP. He might have a future in the party, but becoming Speaker might be career-limiting. Good chance he would take job, if there were no strings attached (liked shared leadership). Probably won’t get the Speaker’s job.
3. Marsha Blackburn – From Tennessee, very conservative, good relations with moderate House members, anti-tax, Tea Party philosophy. If elected Speaker, she would be the first woman to be selected for a top House or Senate leadership post ever.
4. Newt Gingrich – You don’t have to be a House member to become Speaker (Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution). Newt has on-the-job experience as Speaker. He led the highly successful “Contract with America.” Maybe, America needs a second Contract with America now. He’s also a brilliant policy analyst with outstanding knowledge of how the Federal government works. But, some conservatives think that he might have taken some liberal stands that bugged them in the past. Plus, people want to move forward. Is Newt’s time past?
For More Information
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Originally posted on October 12, 2015 on GerardLameiro.com.