Boehner Scoffs at President’s Purported Pivot to the Center

Also reaffirms GOP plan to develop positive agenda of “better solutions” that people can “put their arms around and believe in”

WASHINGTON, DC – In a speech today to The Ripon Society, House Republican Leader John Boehner expressed skepticism that the Democrats would reverse their hard-left policy push and turn toward the center in the wake of Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts, and said the GOP is moving ahead with plans to develop a positive, solutions-oriented agenda to campaign on in the mid-term elections this fall.

“The President is talking about doing this big pivot,” Boehner stated, referring to the Massachusetts upset and its potential impact on the State of the Union Address.  “The only thing they’re going to pivot on is the message.  They don’t think it has anything to do with their agenda.  They’re still trying to find a way to shove the health care bill down the throat of the American people.  I just find this rather remarkable.”

“When I handed Nancy Pelosi the gavel,” Boehner stated, recalling the moment Democrats took control of Congress from the Republicans, “I told her that this gavel – and the power that comes with the majority – is on loan from the American people.  And it is on loan.  When you’re listening to the American people, you can in fact hold onto power and hold onto the gavel.  When you start ignoring the American people, you findout how quickly this is all on loan.

“What we’re seeing around the country is remarkable.  Nobody has seen the kind of rebellion that’s going on in America.  You saw the rebellion manifest itself back in July and August at the town hall meetings. You saw it manifest itself again with what happened in Virginia and New Jersey.  And it manifested itself again last week in, of all places, Massachusetts …  It’s not just about health care.  He [Scott Brown] ran on cap and trade, on spending, on debt, and the whole issue of security and bringing terrorists to America to put them on trial.  There’s something really big going on.”

Boehner further noted that during a trip to Ohio this past week, the President had said his health care plan had run into a “buzz saw of special interests and lobbyists.”  Boehner disagreed with this assessment.  “The buzz saw he heard was not special interests and lobbyists.  The buzz saw was the American people jumping up and down and saying, ‘Stop!  Stop all this nonsense!!’  I think the American people are just petrified of what Washington is doing to them.”

That said, Boehner also noted that the growing opposition to Democratic policies doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more support for Republicans in the mid-terms this fall.  “Ninety percent of the election this year is going to be about them,” Boehner stated.  “But there’s going to be some small part of this election that’s going to be about us, because they [the American people] are not ready to jump into our arms.”  The main reason, Boehner noted, is that people “are not quite ready to trust us.”

“We’ve had our share of problems.  But what I’ve told my colleagues is you can’t talk to the American people and promise them this or promise them that — they’ve heard all that political nonsense.  You have to show them — actions speak louder than words.”  Pointing to the GOP’s unified opposition to such measures as the stimulus bill, cap and trade legislation and health care, Boehner declared that: “We’re speaking pretty loudly by our actions.”  But, he added, “that’s not going to be enough.  We’ve got to show the American people what we’re for.”

To that end, Boehner said the GOP is working to develop a positive agenda of “better solutions” that it will be able to present to the American people later this year.  “What it’s called,” Boehner remarked, “nobody knows.  But I’ll tell you this – the process of developing this document is as important as what this document says, because we’ve got to show the American people and prove to them that they’ve had a chance to speak up and that we’re listening.  Then, we’ve got to give people enough confidence in us to believe that if they elect us, this will in fact happen or at least be brought to a vote.”

The reason, Boehner concluded, is simple.  “For us to get to a majority, we’ve got to give people something to put their arms around and believe in.”

Boehner’s remarks to The Ripon Society can be viewed at the below links:

Part 1

Part 2


The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 — Ripon, Wisconsin.  One of the main goals of the Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s past success.  These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.  For more information on the Ripon Society, please visit