You forgot or never realized, sir, that the Speakership of the United States House of Representatives is not a position of stability, nor of stasis. It is the least, rather than the most-protected, seat in that great chamber o’er which you presided (but which you failed to lead) these last four years.
That chair and the nifty gavel that accompanies it are signs and symbols of the authority and responsibility entrusted to you directly by the several representatives of the partisan majority of which you are a single member, and indirectly by the people of the United States of America who placed your co-partisan House members in their respective chairs on that same Chamber’s floor.
In the Autumn of 2010, the American people directly elected a number of Republican representatives to the House sufficient to directly place you in the Speaker’s chair. Admittedly, the American people were once-removed from your apparent success, but you should have paid attention to the deeper, general-electoral origin of your election to the Speakership. You didn’t. It is lamentable that, as in the current Jeb Bush/Hillary Clinton mode, you assumed the aura of deserving it; of it being your time. In short, you believed you were entitled to that chair and gavel. But you weren’t, precisely because no one ever is. You should have studied more Greek tragedy, sir.
With that 2010 election came a mandate from the American people. Across the country they sent representatives to Congress, assigning them to you to inspire them to effect real change. Your actions and words served as a limpid reply: I can’t do it alone, folks, I need the Senate with me. Persuaded more by your failures than by your words, two years later the American people sent “you” the United States Senate! And what do we have to show for it? Nothing short of an actually responsible faction of disgusted Republicans that has made your comfortable existence as Speaker sufficiently uncomfortable as to inspire your resignation of the Speakership.
And on your way out, as if to prove your fundamental failure to understand the nature of republican, representative government, you not only stepped down from the Speakership, you quit your seat on the floor. You quit America and then you quit the people of the 8th District of Ohio. “Your” district. Remember those folks someday. And while you are thinking of them, hear their silence: they will not be crying for you.
James McCrery is an architect and political thinker in Washington, D.C.