WHILE DOUBTLESS some temporary measures will be taken to avoid the worst consequences of the “fiscal cliff,” either before or after New Year’s, there is an issue that will have to be addressed on Jan. 3: the speakership (“Hope for deal on taxes fades at break time,” Page A2, Dec. 22).
The speaker of the House is a national figure, leader of the entire House, not just his or her party. As such, the speaker needs to forge agreement among the majority of House members to move along issues of national importance.
There is no doubt in my mind that moderate Republicans could work together with Democrats to forge truly historic reform. The Simpson-Bowles commission and its original plan clearly demonstrated that a bipartisan group could tackle big issues and come up with dramatic and balanced solutions.
Speaker John Boehner has shown himself incapable of leading the Republicans in the House, let alone the House as a whole. He has been unwilling to allow moderate Republicans to work with Democrats and has instead allowed the Tea Party to dictate policy, resulting in complete gridlock. It is impossible to imagine Tip O’Neill or any of the other great speakers allowing themselves to be pushed around in a similar way. Boehner is no leader.
It is time to nominate and elect a new speaker, one who understands how to lead.