For those of you in your 20's, believe it or not, there has been some great Speakers of the House in history. Your historical experience so far with Speakers has ranged from the incompetent to ugly and divisive. In your young lifetime you have had to experience bitter Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), the angry Newt Gingrich (R-GA) who divided the nation forever and not the sad and pitiful John Boehner (R-Ill).. Trust my young ones, there has been some great Speakers in both parties since the first one, Frederick Muhlenberg was elected in 1789! The roll call of great Speakers includes Henry Clay, James Polk , Joseph Cannon, Nicholas Longworth, Sam Rayburn. and Tip O'Neill. Nancy Pelosi did not serve enough time to be a great Speaker historically but was the first woman and great leader.
With the possible exception of Speaker James Lawrence Orr (D) who used his Speakership totally to promote and continue slavery, Speaker John Boehner certainly will go down in history as one of the worst Speakers in history. Without question he will make the top five. His Speakership at times borders on the pitiful and sad and is one where he is being led instead of leading.
Speaker Boehner has been whipped back and forth by his own extreme fringe members. He has allowed less than fifty members to dictate his Speakership. Boehner has been unable to deliver the votes, keep his word, have the capacity to lead and reassure the nation in a crisis. The Speaker has been unable to articulate effectively his positions. The Speaker has shown no capacity to build governing coalitions with the Democrats and to be tough with his own members. In short, history will have a very difficult time finding the strengths of his Speakership.
Speaker Boehner's holding up and allowing Hurricane Sandy relief to become a political issue is the low point in his Speakership. Hurricane Andrew, up to this point, took the longest to get Congressional approval and that took just 31 days. We are over 70 days and still no relief from the House. Disgraceful!
One of the great Speakers of our time was Speaker Sam Rayburn (D-Texas). Trust me those extreme right wingers would have falling in line in this time of national economic crisis or you would be seeing them cleaning the men's room in Capitol. Rayburn understood power, put his country first and delivered on his promises. Boehner would be well served to take time to read about Rayburn and hopefully learn a thing or two about power.
Unfortunately, ever since Speaker Newt Gingrich )R-GA) decided it was not in the nation's interest for the parties to work together to find solutions, the House of Representatives has been an ugly and divided place. More than any other institution, it has set the tone for division in America. The future doesn't look hopeful as the crazies will continue to dictate the direction of House. The odds of Democrats taking control look slim because of recent re-districting around the county.
Speaker Boehner is a good man who wanted to be Speaker so bad that he forgot to actually be one when elected. Sad.