Friday morning is not always laundry day for me, but the clothes have to get washed before the work day, and even if I hold off to the end, I know that I can sneak in the chores, the dirty work, and still have time for play.
Speaking of wash, Washington DC has gotten as dirty as ever, and only the dysfunction, gridlock, and frustration of unsuccessful politicians have stopped the spread. And speaking of dirty, The View was blasting on the TV while I was pouring the bleach. Ugh! There is nothing worse than a bunch of catty liberals pretending to be smart, spewing the anti-conservative koolaid. Thankfully, a special report burst through. Then I saw “Clinton Cash” ABC political reporter George Step-on-all-of-us announce:
“Congressman John Boehner will be resigning today as Speaker of the House.”
Work and play came together so unexpectedly for me. Wow! For the first time, I was jumping around in the Laundromat, so happy to hear the good news (the Values Summit also broke out into applause when Marco Rubio announced the news).
For the next half an hour, I was watching Boehner wipe away the tears, holding back his upset. He justified his departure as though he had planned on leaving at the end of 2014 (Yeah, sure). He then explained how Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss forced him to rethink departure. No. Cantor’s head rolled, and Boehner sensed that more would follow if he left right away. He then tried to connect the arrival of Pope Francis as further impetus for his decision to move on.
I am glad, oh so glad that Boehner went bye-bye. Hallelujah! I made sure right away to call Congressman Mark Meadow’s office. This single representative from the blue mountains of North Carolina filed a discharge petition, declaring that the Speakership was vacant because of Boehner’s bad leadership. From executive amnesty, to failed shut-downs (Boehner told Jay Leno that it was “our” fault), the sun-tanned House Rep from Ohio had spent more time working with President Obama and the Democrats rather than his colleagues and this country.
Channeling my inner Audrey Two from “Little Shop of Horrors”, I shouted to the staffer: “I want to THANK Congressman Meadows for challenging the Speaker and getting him removed!” I followed up with a brief question: will Meadows run for Speaker? The answer is no. Please do not ask him to run, readers. Just call him and give him lots of support. Meadows of North Carolina is a true conservative champion. When I reported on his discharge petition against then-Speaker Boehner, a reader in New York State thanked me: “I had quit the Republican Party and joined the Conservative Party because of what was going on in Washington.”
Now conservatives have a reason to re-affiliate if they feel so inclined to do so.
Now, who will take Boehner’s place? There is a long list of credible candidates for the job. Granted, there are two in waiting: Kevin McCarthy of my home state of California, with majority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana right behind. Scalise? No thanks. Definitely not McCarthy. Granted, his ascension would usher in the unique precedent of two Californians as House leaders, with the wicked witch of Haight-Ashbury representing the dwindled Democratic caucus. That does not mean I am in lock-step agreement with the idea.
McCarthy refuses to endorse my good friend Johnny Tacherra of Fresno, CA in his rematch against bewildered and bedeviled Jim Costa. He flirted with granting legal status to illegal aliens. I am wary of his staunch opposition to rechartering the Ex-Im Bank (cronyism at its worst). He is too close to the Boehner brand for my taste. Sorry, but it’s time for new blood.
So, who should place Boehner? Louie Gohmert was my favorite earlier this year, but the man managed to get only three votes on the floor during the final tally. Conservative leadership requires strong and standing consensus, and Gohmert failed to deliver. Pass. Jeb Hensarling of Texas? I would like to know more about him, but not sure yet.
I called Congressman Steven King of Iowa’s office, and asked the staffer: “Is Congressman King going to seek the Speakership?” No news yet, since Boehner just announced his resignation. I certainly hope King (Steve, not Peter, who called conservatives “crazies”) considers it. The Iowa Congressman (who wisely turned down running for US Senate last year) has media savvy and political cunning like no one else, and has stood his ground on one of the most contentious and essential of issues: illegal immigration. He has former Colorado Congressman, presidential and gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo’s consistency (particularly on immigration) with a broad conservative consensus to back it up. King immediately declared his refusal to support Boehner. Representatives need to stop looking for the easy route among their colleagues and stand strong on principle.
Raul Labrador of Idaho would be good. He has already challenged Kevin McCarthy for Majority Leader, which implies avenues of support for a second run. He relentlessly interrogated former Attorney General Eric Holder over Operation Fast and Furious, and even graciously bowed out when McCarthy replaced Cantor. How about Darrell Issa of California, the former House Oversight Committee Chairman? He relentlessly criticized the Obama Administration (including on Fast and Furious) during his tenure. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina is a personal favorite, and has gotten votes before. He trashed my former Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles, thankfully retired) in a budget committee hearing. To this day, Mulvaney refuses to buckle on conservative causes.
Sure, conservatives are rejoicing: “Bye-Bye, Boehner! And take McCarthy with him!” But the work is not over. With so many choices, I am collaborating with my fellow Republicans, reaching out to engaged conservative activists, contacting House reps all over the country. We need leadership not afraid to confront, fight, and win. Let’s fight this fight together, conservatives, and make it clear that we won’t settle for more of the same.