Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
Posts tagged "House Speaker"

No, I haven’t written anything about Tip O’Neill, but he’d be a great subject.  O’Neill was certainly a colorful figure, one hell of a politician, and a great Speaker of the House.  Our nation sorely misses politicians on both sides of the aisle who could get things in the House and the Senate.  If our chambers of Congress was populated today by people like Tip O’Neill, Bob Dole, Howard Baker, and Birch Bayh, among others, we’d be in much, much better shape.  Instead, we are in the midst of the 113th Congress, which is doing its best to surpass the 112th Congress as the least-effective, most-divisive, dangerous, least-popular, and all-around worst Congress in American history.

I’ve been thinking about the last question I got about Speaker John Boehner saying that he isn’t going to negotiate with President Obama anymore and about how generally terrible Congress is and I came to a thought.

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is next in line to the Presidency after the Vice President.  The Speaker controls the flow of legislation in the House and is easily the most influential member of the Legislative branch — probably the third or fourth most powerful person in the country.  The Speaker is an enormously important component to the political process in the United Sates.

It requires a simple majority of the votes of 435 people, many of whom are casting ballots on the first day of their new job in Congress, to elect the Speaker of the House.  The voting is almost always done along strict party lines.  John Boehner will probably be Speaker until January 3, 2015.  It only took 200 people to decide that.  Although the Speaker of the House is a tremendously powerful person who influences the lives of every American in many ways, John Boehner is really only accountable to the 8th Congressional District of Ohio.  Nancy Pelosi was really only accountable to the 8th Congressional District of California.

Understanding all of this, shouldn’t we choose the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in a national election?  Shouldn’t candidates for the Speaker have to face all of the voters of our country?  Shouldn’t all Americans help make that decision?