Monday, November 15, 2010

Excerpts from Boehner Speech to Freshman Class

"This is no ordinary year, and this is no ordinary freshman class. And this is no ordinary time for our nation."

"On your chairs are copies of the Pledge to America.
"The Pledge is the plan. Our agenda, from the people.
"In the new majority, the people's priorities will be our priorities: creating jobs, cutting spending, reforming Congress. The goal is to start us on a path to smaller, less costly, more accountable government.
"Speaker Nick Longworth viewed the House as 'the real medium for the translation into legislation of the hopes and desires of the American people.'
"Robert Remini, the former House historian, says the story of the House is one of 'how an institution of 65 fairly well-to-do, upper-class WASPS' grew into an institution of 435 men and women of 'every class and nationality and ethnic background and religious beliefs.'
"Your class exemplifies this better than any other freshman Republican class to walk through these doors.
"Of the 80-plus incoming GOP freshmen, nearly half of you have never served in any elective office in your lives.
"This group includes seven farmers, six medical doctors, three car dealers, two funeral home directors, a former FBI agent, a pizza restaurant owner, an NFL lineman, and a Northwest Airlines pilot.
"And it includes no fewer than 20 veterans of our armed forces.
"This truly is government of the people, by the people, for the people."
"I mentioned Longworth earlier; another great Speaker was Henry Clay.
"Henry Clay did something noble: he left the Senate to join the House. He liked the 'turbulence' of the House, compared to the 'solemn stillness' of the Senate.
"Back then, it wasn't uncommon for the Senate to adjourn so that Senators could walk over to the House chamber to watch the debate.
"The House should be a place where we relish the battle of ideas.
"Towards the end of his time in public service, Henry Clay said, 'Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees. And both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.'
"Henry Clay got it. It's not about us. It's about the people."
"I believe that the job of the next Speaker is to work to restore the institution -- restore it to being the People's House.
"[That] means ensuring we have a House that listens to the people and respects the people."
"If you remember one thing from my talk tonight, I hope it's just one word: humility.
"The American people are sick and tired of the 'Washington knows best' mentality.
"All the power in this town is on loan from the people.
"Our constituents sent us here to do something -- to stop the expansion of the federal government at the expense of their freedom and their jobs.

"It's not about us; it's about them."
"When you raise your hand on January 5 and swear to defend the Constitution, don't let it be the last time you mention the Constitution.
"Americans are reconnecting with the things that made this country the greatest nation on Earth.
"Americans want a Congress that will stop the job-killing policies, end the spending spree in Washington -- and defend the Constitution."
"I look at our Conference as a team. That's how I run my office, and it's how I approach the Conference as well.
"Everyone has a talent. Everyone has a place. I'm committed to finding a place for each of you, and putting you in a position to succeed.
"On a football team, a good coach knows every player -- their strengths, their weaknesses, their gifts -- and figures out how to put each player in a position to use those gifts for the good of the team.
"With apologies to our new colleague Jon Runyan, a Michigan Wolverine. . .I'm going to use a quote from the great Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes.
"Woody Hayes wasn't big on gloating after a win. He told his team (quote): 'Once we get winning, [if] anybody comes up to congratulate you, kick them in the shins, unless it’s a little old lady over 80. Pats on the back soften you.'
"I don't recommend kicking anyone, but I do think we need to take our accomplishments in stride. That's how I want to approach the coming year."
"With a new majority in the House, our first goal has to be stopping the job-killing policies and stopping the spending binge.
"We might spend the entire 112th Congress fighting to do just those two things.
"If that happens, take pride in it. You'll be doing the will of the American people. And that's why you're here.

"There is no higher honor, no cause in government more noble, than doing the will of the people, who want a smaller, less costly, more accountable government.
"I'm ready to get to work. I hope you are too. I look forward to the privilege of serving with you."
The speech also got coverage in the New York Times.