Opinion

John Boehner, A True Conservative Statesman

Fred Malek Founder and Chairman, Thayer Capital Partners

Speaker John Boehner’s skillful leadership has led us to a Republican majority in Congress and has prevented even more damage from a far left Administration. During his reign as Speaker, he has served as the chief negotiator with President Obama and proved his unrelenting commitment to conservative principles. He worked hard to settle intraparty differences, and was always willing to strike a deal and find common ground with his opponents.

John A. Boehner is a true statesman who understands the importance of putting country and institution above all else. He exemplified this principle clearly when announcing his plans to resign his Speakership and House seat last week. It is important for other members of Congress to remember Speaker Boehner’s selfless act as they plot a strategy to take on President Obama’s liberal agenda and advance the issues that are in line with Republican principles.

However, the Republican Congress needs to be so much more than a resisting force and set a course for a positive message that cuts through the rhetoric and gives us the best chance of advancing a conservative agenda. And bringing the government to a halt does nothing but undermine this goal.

Shutting down the federal government, a tactic employed in 2013 that the Speaker went along with reluctantly, has been brought yet again to the forefront of the national political conversation, even as the Speaker’s retirement delayed a budget standoff until later this year. Brinksmanship and showdowns may make headlines but those actions do nothing to address the bigger issues that are facing our country.

Thanks in large part to Speaker Boehner, Republicans have netted big gains over the past three election cycles. The American Action Network, a group that I founded, worked closely with Speaker Boehner to win back the House in 2010, picking up 63 Republican seats.  Following the 2014 Midterm Elections, Republicans have the largest majority in nearly 100 years.

Under Speaker Boehner’s watch, the House passed the first meaningful entitlement reform in 20 years and advanced the first balanced budget plan since 2001. Spending was cut by more than $2.1 trillion while also protecting 99 percent of Americans from higher taxes. And a pro-growth free trade measure passed by the House and Senate that will help spur economic growth and create jobs for more Americans.

The Republican Party should be reminding the American people of what we’ve accomplished and focus on a forward looking conservative agenda. The Obama presidency has led us to crippling debt and we have more Americans out of the workforce than at any other time in the past quarter century.

Speaker Boehner always did what he could to give us the best opportunity to reverse the course the current administration has set us on, but I’m confident that another capable leader will step up and fill the role. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is a skilled legislator with a strong conservative record and the experience to manage the Republican caucus.

It will be important for the next Speaker to keep in mind that we can take the country forward with strong leadership, bold ideas and a positive message.

Ronald Reagan said that he hoped history would note “that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts.” That’s the approach that Republicans must take moving forward.

John Boehner often referred to himself as a regular guy with a big job. But he rose to the occasion and should be proud of his time spent in public service. He also said that if you make the right choices for the right reasons, then everything will work out just fine. This is a positive message and one that Republicans can run on and win.  Let’s get it together and bring the American people the results they’ve been missing out on for the past seven years.