My man Justin Amash of Michigan has announced on his Facebook page that he will vote against John Boehner for Speaker of the House:
Republicans have a historic opportunity in this Congress. We can pass significant legislation and push President Obama to the bargaining table for the first time in his presidency. We can uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law. We can expand liberty and economic freedom for all Americans.
Our success is not assured. To accomplish our goals, we need sound strategy, crisp messaging, and a commitment to running the House as a deliberative body in which all its diverse voices are heard. Committees must be given enough time to do their work. Rank-and-file members must have sufficient time to read and debate legislation that can profoundly affect the lives of our constituents.
We have been told much over the last few years about opening up the House’s legislative process and returning to regular order. Yet time and again, it seems that Congress governs by crisis and raw partisanship.
Our party and our country are different than they were a generation ago. Americans at home have learned from the policy mistakes our Congress has made over the last few decades. It’s not clear that the men and women in congressional leadership have done the same. To appeal to more Americans and better reflect today’s Republicans, we need modern leaders who respect the diversity of ideas within the House of Representatives.
Speaker Boehner has been the leader of our party in the House for eight years. We have welcomed at least three large waves of new representatives during that time. Republican conference rules limit chairmen to six years in their offices to promote fresh thinking and new priorities. We should apply those same principles to all our party’s leaders.
The speaker of the House has one of the most challenging jobs in government. Speaker Boehner has given his best to our conference, and I thank him for his service. But it’s time for Republicans to change our leadership. This afternoon, I will vote for a new speaker.
Dave Brat has also said he will vote against Boehner.
Amash’s announcement is not a huge surprise. He voted against Boehner in 2013 after being stripped of a top committee assignment, which he believed happened because he had not voted in the approved establishment manner. Brat’s announcement is pleasing, as it shows that, like Amash, he will not kowtow to the establishment powers that be, simply to get choice committee assignments.
Most news organizations, however (see ABC News as one example) believe Boehner is safe. If they’re right, the election of the Speaker can be seen as a microcosm of what is happening on a policy level. You can elect a few people with a passion to change things, but when the system is set up to reward More of the Same, you are likely to get More of the Same. Expressing displeasure with individuals is fine and can’t hurt, but until we replace human elected officials with a more rarefied species that does not respond to basic incentives, the same incentives will tend to produce the same results. More systematic changes are necessary for real change to occur.
But hey, guys, feel free to surprise me today.
UPDATE: No surprises. Boehner won.