American Elephants


Speaker of the House John Boehner Addresses The Ripon Society: by The Elephant's Child

Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to The Ripon Society on January 22, 2013 in Washington DC. Former Representative Mike Oxley introduces the Speaker.

There has been a lot of criticism of the speaker from Republicans who have wanted him to do far more battle. They wanted to go over the fiscal cliff, assuming that would somehow be an attack on the administration. It wouldn’t. The blame would attach entirely to the Republicans, who are already blamed by the public for preventing all good things from happening with their nasty stubbornness. The painful fact is that you cannot run the United States government from one house of Congress, much as we would prefer to at this moment in time. On the other hand, we wouldn’t like it much were the situation reversed with Democrats running the country from a Democratic House.

There are currently 233 Republican members of the House of Representatives, and 200 Democrats. Each of those members have their own priorities and their own opinions. Think herding cats. Coming to some kind of agreement as to strategy and desired outcome is not easy. Our Founders designed our system of government so that each of the three branches is independent and must work with the other two to accomplish anything. Congress is designed to reflect the people, the population by districts. States gain or lose members with each census. The Senate, on the other hand, represents the 50 states, and each state has two senators no matter how populous or sparsely settled the state. It was a brilliant solution on the part of the Founders to force debate and slow consideration, and as governments go a pretty good answer to the problem that we are all human, and sometimes make terrible mistakes.

Republicans in Congress consider our debt and the economy to be the greatest dangers we face. The President did consider these issues to be important enough to mention in his Inaugural Address. Congress is more concerned at the moment with banning guns. Republicans might try supporting our leaders instead of trying to tear them down.

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