Young Guns is the buzz. The book by Eric Cantor (R,VA), Paul Ryan (R,WI) and Kevin McCarthy (R, CA) asserts that there is a better road forward for the GOP, one that follows Ryan’s “Road Map,” which outlines solutions to our insoluble entitlement programs, our inequitable tax system and the problem of government intrusion in our economy. The most poignant part of the book is the foreword by Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard.
Barnes predicts that Cantor, not Boehner, will be speaker of the House; that Ryan will serve as the Budget Committee chairman; and that McCarthy will be the majority whip. Barnes’ foreword is a stern and accurate indictment of John Boehner, the presumed heir apparent to the speakership.
But these elections are not about assumed or automatic powers are they? Everything that has driven the agenda, everything that has put people in the streets and everything expressed by the people this election season has rejected career politicians, especially those who have held power and taken us down our current path.
Considering that Boehner has, up to this point, been lauded as the natural speaker, does he deserve it?
Let us review his resume. Boehner has served in the House of Representatives for 20 years. In this time he has moved up the ranks. In February of 2006 he attained the majority leadership position and presided over the Republican Party as it lost its majority in the 2006 midterms. He was then voted into the minority leadership position. In this position he presided over the party’s historic losses in the 2008 election. He still serves as the Republican minority leader.
He has presided over two monumental electoral blunders, has been unable to guide a conservative agenda when it counted (not when the citizens take control) and he looks weak at a time when he should look strong on taxes.
On Sunday morning Boehner said that he would vote for Obama’s tax plan, which is a tax-the-rich, class-warfare-driven proposal. This after claiming time and again that taxing job creators cannot logically help create jobs.
The millions of people who make up the Tea Party have done too much work to allow Boehner to mess things up. They are kicking out incumbents left and right. Here is a politician going into his eleventh term (an incumbent), who has presided over everything the Tea Party speaks out against (big spending) and who has seen nothing but five years of failure. Fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets are what millions of citizens want. Those are things that John Boehner cannot deliver.
Enter Cantor and Ryan. Eric Cantor has been the minority whip since 2008. He was brought in for his energy, his clarity and his ability to drive a new agenda that is in touch with the Tea Party. Cantor is keeping his eye on Ryan’s “Road Map.”
The “Road Map” was introduced in 2008 and repackaged in 2010. The elements of the plan are not altogether new, but Ryan was able to piece together the ideas in a comprehensive, articulate and clearly reconciled literature. Cantor and Ryan are the leaders of the conservative movement — or at least they deserve to be. They are well spoken, well reasoned, clearly conservative and focused on the issues and solutions for which the people have been screaming since before Obama’s election.
Fred Barnes is right: If John Boehner is installed as the Speaker of the House, an injustice will have occurred and the conservative movement, which has been so successful in taking back the agenda from the career politicians, will have lost.
Ryan Lees has grassroots and national campaign experience. He now serves as the Director of Media Outreach for The Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty.