Green Room

Say, Republican conservatives, how about Jon Huntsman for Speaker?

posted at 11:03 am on December 26, 2012 by

Because he’s a real conservative, says Norman Ornstein in the Washington Post:

Go to Article I, Section 2: The Constitution does not say that the speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. In fact, the House can choose anybody a majority wants to fill the post. Every speaker has been a representative from the majority party. But these days, the old pattern clearly is not working. …

The best way out of this mess would be to find someone from outside the House to transcend the differences and alter the dysfunctional dynamic we are all enduring. Ideally, that individual would transcend politics and party — but after David Petraeus’s stumble, we don’t have many such candidates. It would have to be a partisan Republican.

One option would be Jon Huntsman. By any reasonable standard, he is a conservative Republican: As governor of Utah, he supported smaller government, lower taxes and balanced budgets, and he opted consistently for market-based solutions. As a presidential candidate, he supported positions that were in the wheelhouse of Ronald Reagan. But a Speaker Huntsman would look beyond party and provide a different kind of leadership. He would drive a hard bargain with the president but would aim for a broad majority from the center out, not from the right fringe in. He could not force legislation onto the floor, but he would have immense moral suasion.

At first, you think that Ornstein’s telling a Christmas joke … but he’s actually serious, about both the suggestion and the insistence that Huntsman is a man who represents the conservative wing of the GOP.  How many delegates did he win in the primary, by the way?

Ornstein also suggests Mitch Daniels, who has a much better claim to that mantle.  We could also toss Newt Gingrich’s name into the mix, since he’s had experience as House Speaker in crafting deals with a Democratic president.  But really … why would any of them want John Boehner’s job?

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