The United States of America is at an incredibly perilous time in our history. We have seen our rights endowed by our Creator and protected by the Constitution being eroded and taken away. It is clear that we need bold leadership more than ever. Speaker John Boehner, by stepping down, is graciously giving us that opportunity.
An opportunity of this magnitude should not be squandered on an ‘heir apparent,’ or continuing to “go along to get along.” The biggest problem with Congressional elections to our top position is that they do not go to the most able, or to the most popular, or to the most qualified. It goes to the person who convinces one more than half that he or she is going to win. The reason? A majority in either party does not want to be on the wrong side of the leader of the party because of committee and chair assignments.
It is really the King Saul complex – not nearly as good at leading as at identifying and marginalizing potential threats to the leading position. The mass of voters rose up in 2010 and changed the majority in the House in 2010. Had Republicans had a strong enough candidate for president in 2012 to even get the same number of votes that a weak candidate like John McCain got in 2008, the Republicans would have won. Then in 2014, voters gave Republicans the Senate majority to go along with the House majority. Now they demand we do something with it.
We continue to be told by current Republican leaders, including our outgoing Speaker, that there is simply nothing we can do to fix Americas problems without having control of both Houses of Congress and the White House. The trouble with that is that too many Americans remember that in the 1990’s with a Democrat in the White House and fighting Republicans in the House and Senate, they sent bills to balance the budget and reform welfare repeatedly until the president could no longer veto them because of the massive and growing wave of support in America.
We have suffered from a president seizing power he admitted the Constitution did not give him, along with five unelected justices on the Supreme Court deciding neither God nor the Constitution could prevent their opinions from becoming judicially-created legislation. This massive power shift in away from the most accountable representatives of the people required real leadership with vision for the future to protect our democratic republic. As John Adams said, more need to become “well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”
So often, after being elected to Congress, members have the goal drilled into their heads that there is nothing nobler than being a ‘team player.’ Though football and our military are deep passions of mine, their metaphorical uses in Congress are often inappropriate.
Here are two more appropriate sports metaphors: (1) Too often, being a ‘team player’ has disguised the fact that the called play has us running toward the wrong goal line; (2) When the coach’s goal is to simply slow down our massive losses of liberty and opportunity, it is time for a new coach.
Today’s news of Speaker Boehner stepping down at the end of October is an opportunity that Congress has needed for quite some time now. I am grateful to the Speaker that he is providing that opportunity. As Speaker Boehner moves on to a new chapter in his life, I truly wish both him and his family well.
Now, more than any other time in my life, we need to be praying for this country. It is a defining moment. It’s past time that we, as a body, stand firmly for those who are being oppressed by government and take up the torch of liberty to ensure this flame of freedom is not extinguished for the generations that follow us.
Congressman Gohmert is the Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, he was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas and was appointed by then Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals.