House Conservatives Don’t Need to Put Up Their Own

Lots of outside voices who generally are not with House Conservatives are now challenging House Conservatives to put up their own candidate for Speaker. Conservatives need not bother and should not fall into the trap.

Conservatives in the House are finally beginning to understand their role — they do not have power of initiation, they have the veto power. Conservatives do not have the votes to put up their own as Speaker, but they can block anyone else from being Speaker.

In other words, conservatives are a bit like the Queen of England. They have three rights in the House of Representatives: the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn. They also have one power: consent. By giving their consent, withholding their consent, or withdrawing their consent, they can steer the appointment of a Speaker, end a Speaker’s career, and force Republicans to side with Democrats, further exposing Republicans within primaries.

Conservatives in the House need to use their rights and power wisely, as they have by ending the career of John Boehner. They should also not feel the need to take up the challenges of their outside critics by vying for the Speakership themselves. Conservatives need to settle for being kingmakers in the House and not kings. That is power in and of itself to help shape an agenda and have a seat at a table that John Boehner took away.

As conservatives line up to be kingmaker, they should demand of those they support that:

  1. The new Speaker/Majority Leader oppose reauthorization of the Ex/Im Bank in the present and prevent Boehner from reauthorizing it;
  2. The new Speaker/Majority Leader oppose all efforts to fund Planned Parenthood in the present and prevent Boehner from reauthorizing it; and,
  3. The new Speaker/Majority Leader implement these four reforms of the House recommended by the Heritage Foundation.