Good speech. Short, to the point. Quite humble, delivered in a tone that suggests quite strongly that Speaker Boehner understands the responsibility that now rests on his shoulders and the magnitude of the task in front of him. Oh yes, and that the people are watching.
I’ve always liked Boehner, but at the end of the day he’s still a politician. Here’s hoping his actions, and that of the 112th Congress, reflect the sentiments and promise delivered in today’s speech.
Here’s the video; partial transcript below.
Selected excerpts, lifted from Ace of Spades:
The people of Ohioâ€™s Eighth Congressional District continue to afford me the privilege to serve, for which I am deeply grateful.
We gather here today at a time of great challenges. Nearly one in ten of our neighbors are looking for work. Health care costs are still rising for families and small businesses. Our spending has caught up with us, and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy. Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress.
No longer can we fall short. No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions.
In the Catholic faith, we enter into a season of service by having ashes marked on our foreheads. The ashes remind us that life in all its forms is fragile â€“ our time on this Earth, fleeting. As the ashes are delivered, we hear those humbling words: â€śRemember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.â€ť
The American people have humbled us. They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them. That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker. After all, this is the peopleâ€™s House. This is their Congress. Itâ€™s about them, not us. What they want is a government that is honest, accountable and responsive to their needs. A government that respects individual liberty, honors our heritage, and bows before the public it serves.
Letâ€™s start with the rules package the House will consider today. If passed, it will change how this institution operates, with an emphasis on real transparency, greater accountability, and a renewed focus on the Constitution.
Our aim will be to give government back to the people. In seeking this goal, we will part with some of the rituals that have come to characterize this institution under majorities Republican and Democratic alike. We will dispense with the conventional wisdom that bigger bills are always better; that fast legislating is good legislating; that allowing additional amendments and open debate makes the legislative process â€śless efficientâ€ť than our forefathers intended.
These misconceptions have been the basis for the rituals of modern Washington. The American people have not been well served by them.
Let us now move forward humble in our demeanor, steady in our principles, and dedicated to proving worthy of the trust and confidence that has been placed in us. If we brace ourselves to do our duty, and to do what we say we are going to do, there is no telling what together we can accomplish for the good of this great and honorable nation. More than a country, America is an idea, and it is our job to pass on to our posterity the blessings bestowed to us.
Congratulations, Mr Speaker. Please don’t fuck this up.