Incoming House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican colleagues are intensely aware of public fury over how Congress operates. But following a lame-duck Congress that continued with business as usual, will this new Congress finally get it right?
As the 112th Congress officially convenes this week, the questions most of us have on our minds are: Will it finally...
--Reduce government spending?
--Reduce the national deficit?
--Reduce the national debt?
--Reduce earmarks and pork?
--Reduce briberies by lobbyists and special interests?
--Reduce Americans' taxes?
--Reduce illegal immigration?
--Reduce our foreign entanglements?
--Reduce government overreach into our lives?
--Reduce government lying, cheating and corruption?
--Reduce constitutional disobedience?
...And so stabilize the nation and economy?
Nov. 2 was undoubtedly a reprimand and a repudiation of the direction Washington is going and how it is conducting government business. But it was also a big renunciation of who our politicians have become.
Getting government right isn't merely a matter of knowing how; we've had plenty of that type of politician who have screwed up our country even worse. In fact, there has been one prevailing element that has been missing in recent recipes to reawaken and rebound our republic. It's the last "E" in the three E's to a successful government: expertise, experience and a good set of ethics.
For example, President Barack Obama made the audacious claim in the beginning of his presidency that his administration would "clean up both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue" with "the most sweeping ethics reform in history." He repeatedly pledged that "an Obama administration is going to have the toughest ethics laws of any administration in history."
But what we've seen from his administration is more of the same old government corruption -- back-door deals, sidestepping constitutional protocol, manipulating the American public, buying votes, compounding broken promises, perpetuating Chicago-style politics, etc.
Good morals precede good laws, which is why government isn't much help. Unless the people and their legislators are grounded in morality, the best of laws will be broken and the worst of laws will be made, legalizing immorality.
Our Founders knew that for a government to "get it right," it first has to be filled with people who are "right and good." They knew that morality and religion are essential buttresses of a good and free government. As George Washington once said, "a good moral character is the first essential in a man." Patrick Henry wrote: "The great pillars of all government and of social life (are) virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor ... and this alone, that renders us invincible." And Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who signed the Declaration of Independence on behalf of Maryland, similarly wrote, "Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure ... are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."
Our Founders had it right in the beginning, and we can, too, if we follow their footsteps. Good government is created and sustained only when we discern and elect character before charisma and promised political carrots.
That is why I endorsed Mike Huckabee a few years ago in the presidential race -- because I believed, before anything else, that he is a man of integrity, someone who means what he says and says what he means. I trust his word. And right now, he is encouraging all of us in Texas to ensure the vote for Ken Paxton, who is looking to become the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. I echo Mike's concern to rally citizens in local districts to call their state representatives and encourage them to vote for Ken.
As Mike and Huck PAC wrote, "soon to start his fifth term in office, Ken has twice been named 'Texas Taxpayer Hero' by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Ken proudly believes in the sanctity of life, and supporting conservative family values like traditional marriage between one man and one woman. Ken recognizes that the matters of social issues directly impact our economy, and I'm confident having Ken's conservative voice lead the new Texas House of Representatives will result in some great accomplishments." The vote takes place Jan. 11.
On Nov. 2, many decent, good, law-abiding and God-fearing men and women were elected, in and outside Washington. And it is this moral momentum in appointing leaders that we must continue. So be active in local elections, as well as national ones, and be mindful that our representatives are often electing their own leaders, so they need our feedback then, too.
In the end, the question isn't only whether the 112th Congress finally will get it right; it's also whether we the people finally have gotten it right by appointing good and morally upright people to leadership positions all across our land.