Tom Donohue for speaker of the House

Conservative Republicans’ deep-seated dissatisfaction with John Boehner’s lackluster performance as Speaker of the House has erupted in widespread calls for his replacement when the House of Representatives meets on January 6 to elect a new speaker.  The problem is, whom to replace him with?  No conservative GOP House member has stepped forward to challenge the powerful boss, despite calls from prominent conservative voices such as Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Erick Erickson.

This dilemma presents conservatives with a magnificent opportunity to tell the American people that it is the conservative movement that genuinely stands against Washington, D.C.’s corrupt business as usual.  It is a rare opportunity to do so in a way that can penetrate the usual leftist media propaganda screen, which continues the false and hypocritical pretense that it is leftist Democrats who oppose the K Street lobbyist machine.

What is this amazing opportunity for genuine conservative members of the House?  It is to vote for U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue for speaker of the House of Representatives.

Yes, that Tom Donohue.  The man who says that the GOP should not even bothering to field a presidential candidate in 2016 if he or she doesn’t fall in with the Democrats’ amnesty-based immigration plan.  The most powerful crony capitalist lobbyist in Washington.  The man who claims full credit for the GOP victory in November, whose attitude, in the words of, is that the Chamber wants “what it wants, and the voters who elected Republicans can go hang.”  The man who put up the money for the campaign against Tea Party and other authentic conservatives in the Republican primaries, and who pushed Boehner’s moves to squelch authentic conservative voices in the GOP conference.  The man who is still pushing for a huge increase in immigrants to compete with American workers, an increase that the congressional GOP leadership, including Boehner, will support by acquiescing to Obama’s unconstitutional fiat on immigration.  The man who seems to be calling the tunes and pulling the strings for Boehner and the House GOP leadership.

So as long as Tom Donohue is the real power behind the Washington GOP establishment, why not just make it official and elect him speaker of the House?  According to both the Constitution and the House rules, the speaker does not have to be a member of Congress.  Therefore, votes for him would not be ruled out of order.  And voting for him would send a powerful message to the American people.  Politics is about communicating, and sometimes the dramatic gesture can communicate far more powerfully than the most detailed disquisition.

A vote for Tom Donohue would send a very public and powerful symbolic message to the American people that true conservatives know that K Street lobbyists, not the people, run the Congress.  A vote for Tom Donohue would tell the American people that only true conservatives are willing to stand up and tell the truth about the cesspool that their capital has become.  A vote for Tom Donohue would expose Boehner’s puppet-master and make it more awkward for him to continue to dance to Donohue’s crony capitalist music.  And since immigration is the issue of the day, a vote for Tom Donohue would highlight the fact that it is the Democrats who are backing Donohue’s crony capitalist plan to flood the U.S. with low-skilled labor, even as the Democrats hypocritically bemoan low wages.

And just possibly, if 30 GOP Representatives vote for Tom Donohue (or anyone else), they could block Boehner’s election as speaker, and throw open the election to someone who represents the wishes of the American people as expressed in the last election, not the lobbyists’ wish list embodied in the Cromnibus bill.  By voting for Tom Donohue on the first round and forcing a second round of votes for speaker, conservative members can both send the messages above and avoid creating an awkward situation (or looking foolish) by casting votes for a member who has not yet declared.  Then, emboldened by the widespread symbolic protest vote for Tom Donohue, maybe a representative will step forward who can lead the House in the 114th Congress in representing Main Street instead of K Street.

James W. Lucas is an attorney and entrepreneur and the author of Are We The People? Using Amendment to Take Back Our Constitution from Big Government, Big Business and the Supreme Court (of which a new revised edition has just been released).  He blogs at