John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Positive Signs from the House GOP

Posted on January 21, 2009

Positive Signs from the House GOP


            It is a long way until the next election.  President Obama has just ended his first full day in the White House.  All the talk show chatter has centered on how Hollywood invaded the District to celebrate the anointed one.  All the serious press is focused on the decline and fall of the world financial sector.  Nobody is really paying too much attention to the machinations of House Republicans.


            But things are starting to look bit brighter for the lower chamber’s minority party.  I know that is counter-intuitive, but I am started to see signs of revival from them.  


            With the departure of the President Bush, Congressional Republicans now have the opportunity to draw bright lines of distinction between them and the Majority Party.  They no longer have to govern, but that doesn’t give them a license to be irresponsible.  The American people don’t want blind partisanship.  They want solutions.


            And the House GOP is offering positive solutions, not just missiles aimed at the new President.  Under John Boehner’s direction, the new Whip, Eric Cantor (who would have been a good Vice Presidential candidate), led a listening session with top economists that explored the best options to grow the economy. 


            Today, they challenged President Obama to put his words into action, requesting a meeting to present their plans to revive the economy.  Obama has to now either meet with the insurgents (giving them a victory) or ignore them (and give them ammunition in efforts to paint Obama as less than credible on his promise to be post-partisan).


            The minority staff on the Appropriations Committee then released a report that showed that most of the Democrats so-called stimulus won’t even be spent for another couple of years.  Worse, many of the programs that the Democrats want to spend money on can’t spend the money they already have budgeted. 


            Both efforts got major play on the airwaves.  Republicans look fiscally responsible, Democrats look inept, Boehner looks cool under pressure, Pelosi looks bewildered. 


            Behind all of this is a seething public, angry at bailouts and a TARP program that doesn’t seem to be working.  With Bush gone, the Republicans don’t have to worry about defending TARP, giving them a better, more populist message.  The deficit has reemerged as a major political concern, at least among some portions of the media, and those concerns will only grow as the Democrats continue to spend more money.


            Of course, it is not just about the Republicans.  The Democrats have shot themselves in the foot time and again.  Pelosi wants to raise taxes.  Murtha is happy to bring the terrorists to his district.  Rangel is under an ethics cloud.  Geithner doesn’t know how to pay taxes.  Obey doesn’t know how to spend money.   And the new President, with no real check on his power, is poised to overreach.


            All of this bodes well for the House GOP.  If they stay aggressive, if they offer pragmatic solutions and challenge the Administration to accept them, if they highlight their rising stars like Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, and if they keep the rhetorical pressure on the Democrats, they will be successful.  I see positive signs for the House GOP, even amid all the Obamamania.  

Subscribe to the Feehery Theory Newsletter, exclusively on Substack.
Learn More