Conservatives cheered in 2014 when Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate and strengthened their hold on the U.S. House of Representatives in a monumental mid-term whooping of the Democratic Party. I certainly remember grinning happily as race after race went to the Republicans. “Finally,” we thought, “the near-daily erosion of our country’s present, our children’s futures, and the values which made this country great is over!” Our jubilation was short-lived, however, as it quickly became strikingly apparent that the leaders of the two chambers of Congress – Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) in the House and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate – were not the strong fortress wall that we hoped would halt (or at the very least slow) Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda. Instead, the past two years have demonstrated that neither “leader” is a fortress wall; even calling them a “gate” is generous as neither leader has demonstrated any intestinal fortitude to stand up for the conservative principles on which they campaigned and which helped send them back to Congress. For the past year-and-a-half, we have watched the Republican leadership in the House and Senate vote to give Obama and the Democrats most everything they have asked for with little fight and then bemoan their own perceived powerlessness.
Maybe the rumbling frustration we saw shortly after this present Congress convened earlier this year (as well as the Congress before it) has finally burst up from the ocean floor in a plume of conservative disillusionment and disgust in the form of Rep. Mark Meadows’ (R-NC) motion to “vacate the chair” filed yesterday evening. The motion itself is short but sweet, succinctly listing eight reasons why the office of the Speaker of the House should be declared vacant and an election for a new Speaker should be held. If successful, the motion would immediately oust Speaker Boehner from his position as Speaker of the House and require a new Speaker be elected. The justification Meadows chose to include in his motion are a glaring reminder of the dashed dreams conservatives languish under after having elected Republicans to Congress who promised conservative action but who have largely disappointed as leaders, as representatives of the people, and as conservatives. These justifications include:
* The Speaker has tried to consolidate power and decision-making so as to bypass the majority of the House;
* Using the office of the Speaker to punish those who dare vote in opposition to the Speaker’s wishes;
* Using the legislative calendar so as to create “crises” that compel members of the House to vote for legislation they might not otherwise vote for had there been sufficient time for debate and amendments.
Not many are expecting the motion to pass; most Republicans will probably vote against the measure, requiring the motion to gain nearly-universal approval from the Democrats to pass. Even Meadows’ himself says that the motion is meant more as a “discussion-starter” than an actual attempt to unseat Speaker Boehner. If meant as a discussion starter, then the discussion with the Speaker can be nearly as succinct as Rep. Meadows’ motion. I imagine it would be in the form of a question and sound something like this:
“Dear Mr. Speaker: You and other Republicans saw the 2014 midterm elections as a referendum on Obama’s policies. Even the President admitted as much. So why after the American people gave the reins of both chambers of Congress to Republicans who promised to be bold and lead with conservative solutions are we suffering under the same dysfunction, the same hate and animosity, and same failed and rejected policies we were stuck with pre-November 2014?
“More importantly, if you cannot help this country turn away from the numerous cliffs it is quickly approaching after one-and-a-half years at the head of the largest Republican majority in the House of Representatives in the past 60 years, why should we trust you’ll be able to – or that you will even want to – do any different for the remainder of the term?
“Because, Mr. Speaker, from where I sit, July 2015 looks an awful lot like July 2014. In 2014, you were the little playground wimp promising that if we the People infused you with a little public support and fortitude, you could take on the schoolyard bully. We did our part. It doesn’t look like you will ever do yours.”