How does one campaign for Speaker of the House? Well, if your name is John Boehner and you happen to be odds-on favorite to get the job because you just oversaw a campaign that produced massive gains for your party, you send a letter to your colleagues asking for their support.
Sounds straightfoward enough, right? But the Boehner letter also provides some interesting looks at how the legislative process and congressional culture will be changed under a Boehner speakership. Here's the text:
“Dear House Republican Colleague,
“The statement made by the American people this week was a repudiation of Washington; a repudiation of Big Government; a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people. The people have been clear: the job-killing spending binge in Washington must end, and Congress must change.
“To return our country to prosperity and restore the American Dream for our children, we need a smaller, more accountable government that honors our Constitution and respects the will of the people. This must be the focus of the new majority. The people's priorities must be our priorities.
“If I am fortunate enough to serve as Speaker of the House, we will run a much different kind of Congress – one that is humbler, more transparent, and respects the will and intelligence of the people.
“No bill will come to a vote unless Americans have had at least three days to read it first. We will put an end to so-called 'comprehensive' bills rushed through Congress without scrutiny or debate. We will eliminate rules that make cutting wasteful spending hard and increasing spending too easy.
“We will lead a legislature that gauges productivity not by the size of the bills we produce, but by our success in remaining faithful to the will of the people we represent and serve.
“These and many other reforms are included in the Pledge to America, our new governing agenda, which was built by listening to the people. I also encourage you to examine my new document, Pillars of a New Majority – a compilation of five major speeches I gave between June and October of this year as I and other Republicans crisscrossed our nation spreading our message of freedom and smaller government – for further details on my vision for our Conference, our institution, and our country.
“I grew up in a small house on a hill in Reading, Ohio, with 11 brothers and sisters. My dad owned a bar – Andy’s Café – that my grandfather Andy Boehner started in 1938. What little money my parents had they used to send all of us to Catholic schools. I worked nights as a janitor to put myself through college.
“Only in America could someone from these humble beginnings go on to run a small business and then have the opportunity to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, much less to ask his colleagues for the honor of serving as Speaker.
“It’s the American Dream that brought me here. Defending and restoring that Dream for our children and grandchildren will be my mission as Speaker, if I am fortunate enough to serve. I humbly ask for your vote to serve as Speaker of the House in the 112th Congress.”