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Will Conservatives Be The Dog That Caught The Car?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

John Boehner is out (eventually). Kevin McCarthy is out. Conservatives in the House of Representatives are on a roll. But where is the roll going?

I applaud the ouster of these insiders. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the career ambitions of politicians. But what comes next, what follows bold action, is just as important, if not more. On that front, it seems conservatives were wholly unprepared.


Nothing against Daniel Webster or Jason Chaffetz, but are they really people who leap to mind when you think “leader?” Or even “articulate and quick-witted conservative”? Have you ever even heard of either of them before this week?

If you watch Fox News you may have heard of Chaffetz, who is a committee chairman. But Webster? Ever?

Again, nothing against either man, but they aren’t what would be considered inspirational leaders. Both are unknowns.

So how it is that conservatives find themselves like the dog that caught the car? You got what you wanted. What are you going to do with it?

Did no one think a plan beyond step one and two might be necessary? Or did they simply not believe their coalition would hold to get them what they wanted?

It’s inexcusable not to be ready for success.

Now we find ourselves in a scramble for someone to step up and lead. A conservative speaker would be wonderful, but conservatives didn’t prepare for that. So we find ourselves in a situation where the media is hyping Paul Ryan as the “only person who can unite the GOP.”

He’s not, of course, but it is conservatives’ fault he’s billed as such.

And nothing against Paul Ryan. I think he’d be a fine speaker. Not great, but fine. Certainly better than Boehner or McCarthy. But it shouldn’t have come to this.

It never should have gotten to the point where many Republican members of Congress are publicly begging someone to lead them who clearly doesn’t want to. It’s pathetic.

Ryan doesn’t want to take the time away from his young family, which is fine. Forget the fact that Ryan was perfectly willing to be vice president just three years ago, a job that, if I’m not mistaken, requires travel and at least a semi-full calendar. The fact that they’re begging someone to lead them is the problem.


You don’t want someone to be speaker who desperately wants the job. Been there, overthrew that. But is there no one, no solid conservative, willing to stand up and say “Screw it, this has to be done, and done right, so I will do it”?

Great leaders have arisen out of the ashes throughout history; but they stepped up.

Let there be no doubt, the job of speaker of the House is a thankless hassle a lot of the time, but the work can be incredibly important. That there isn’t a mad scramble for the vacated chair is fine. But that so few, especially from the group who got us here, are willing to do it is a disgrace.

There are a lot of names being floated around, and a lot of coy politicking happening behind the scenes. Those who are interested don’t want to be seen as interested. It’s a curious dance that in a city obsessed with, and built on, power, so many pretend the idea of getting more of it is unappealing to them.

It’s a lie. There are many members who want the job – desperately. There are many others who would do the job, and do it well, but their egos need to be stroked first.

Leading shouldn’t be seen as a great career move, nor should it be seen as a favor. It should be a calling, a genuine calling.

The next speaker, whoever it is, should have a vision, an ability to communicate that vision, the ability to plot a path to fulfill that vision and the fire to take on not only the Democrats and the White House but the media as well.

There are 247 Republicans in the House of Representatives; do none of them fit the bill? There are more than 40 members of the House Freedom Caucus, the group that helped push out Boehner and McCarthy. Are none of them ready, willing and able to lead?


Sure, pretty much all of them would take the job, but they want to be seduced into it while seeming like they don’t really want it. That’s prom night, not a strategy for leadership.

I’m as happy as the next conservative Boehner is retiring and McCarthy won’t be speaker. But I am equally disturbed that those who made this happen seem to have no idea what to do next. They need to come up with a plan quickly or they’re going to end up with someone worse. The dog in the middle of the street with a bumper in its mouth thinking “what do I do now?” usually ends up being run over.

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