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If only I were speaker John Boehner for even a day Kevin Blaum In the Arena

February 20. 2013 1:55AM
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JACK BAILEY was a well-known game show host in the 1950s and '60s.

Though not a huge star, Bailey claims two in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One for his career in radio and the other for his work in the pioneering days of early television.

Bailey is best remembered as the quintessential game show host of Queen for a Day, broadcast nationally from 1956 to 1964.

Bailey and his game show audience would listen to painful stories from several contestants experiencing difficult times and crown one lucky lady Queen for a Day. The title wasn't worth having. It was the prizes and items her family truly needed that mattered.

If Bailey were around today, what would you want to be for a day? I'd like to be Speaker John Boehner for a Day, maybe a week.

Washington's Grand Old Party is completely off its rails. You read it here first a few years ago. Now the national media can't stop writing about it.

The GOP has been hijacked by a far-right band of wing-nuts. Republican leaders, elected and otherwise, are afraid to confront these extremists and demand their political party back. But that's what they must do.

That's what I would do, were I Speaker John Boehner for a Day.

It's not that I want the Republican Party to come to its senses and begin winning national elections. The situation is far more serious than that. America is approaching a constitutional crisis and our country needs the GOP to come home and help us govern again.

Instead, a far-right coterie in the congress are allowed to push our nation to the edge of a fiscal cliff while threatening America's economy and world markets with collapse.

Instead of concluding a timely cliff deal with significant budget cuts (Republicans said they wanted) while increasing taxes on the top 1 percent (that they did not want), House Republicans balked, waited until the last minute, and watched as tax hikes became law and budget cuts did not.

The House voted 257 to 167 on Jan. 1 to approve the measure with zero time to spare. Only 85 Republicans joined 172 Democrats voting in the affirmative, while 151 GOP members went cliff diving.

However, this model does suggest that the House can produce a majority of its members, if not a majority of Republicans, to compromise and govern.

Much good could be accomplished on a bipartisan basis if Speaker Boehner would place common sense issues before the entire House and let the yeas and nays fall where they may.

Instead Boehner waits for a majority of Republican members to grant him permission, untying his hands. This renders Boehner Speaker in Name Only. And that is not a title worth having.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner is a good man but he cannot control his members on the looney fringe. Boehner does not run the House. A cadre of extremists runs him, and the chamber. Frankly, it's embarrassing.

What would I, Speaker Boehner for a Day, do about the wing-nut fringe? After due deliberation, I'd proceed without them. It's time.

I would be vilified by the far right for moving ahead but it's the right thing to do. It might cost me my Speaker Boehner for a Day title but a majority of the entire House elects the speaker - so I might survive.

The Republican conference would oust Speaker Boehner at their peril. If ultimately removed, his voice would have more power and even greater authority.

The real John Boehner needs to declare his independence. Become Speaker of the Whole House. Run it for however long he can hold it. Demonstrate once again that compromise works and get things done.

John Boehner would make history. He would be listed among America's greatest Speakers of the House.

And that …. is a title worth having.

The GOP has been hijacked by a far-right band of wing-nuts. Republican leaders, elected and otherwise, are afraid to confront these extremists and demand their political party back. But that's what they must do.

Kevin Blaum's column about government, politics and life is published each Sunday in The Times Leader.

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