Congressman John Boehner announced this morning that he will again seek the position of Republican Leader in the new Congress. Here is the text of his message to Republican colleagues:
November 5, 2008
Dear House GOP Colleague,
The 2008 election turned out to be every bit as tough for Republicans as we thought it could be. The American people have spoken. We respect their choice.
Some of our opponents aren’t likely to settle for that. They want us to surrender. They want to see us raise the white flag and concede that our principles of freedom, responsibility, and smaller government no longer speak to the hopes and dreams of American families. They want us to stand aside for the next two years, abandon our principles, and give the new administration and the Democratic leaders of Congress a free pass. It ain’t gonna happen. It must not happen.
America remains a center-right country. Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday’s results as a repudiation of conservatism or a validation of big government. Neither should we. Instead of throwing in the towel, as our opponents demand, we must redouble our efforts to develop forward-looking solutions to the challenges Americans face – solutions rooted in the enduring principles of reform that define us as a party. We need to focus on winning the issues, one by one, and presenting principled, superior alternatives that reflect the center-right priorities of the American people, rather than the self-serving priorities of Washington.
There is no failsafe formula for winning a majority. But there is a proven formula for American leadership. It requires standing up for the principles Americans believe in, offering better alternatives, and fighting as hard as we possibly can day in and day out, issue by issue, until we’ve won the trust of the people. By standing up for the American people – and “doing the right things for the right reasons,” as you often hear me say – we make the best possible case for a lasting Republican majority.
That’s why I believe that amid our disappointment in Tuesday’s outcome, there is opportunity. We fought a spirited battle in the face of overwhelming odds and some disadvantages we couldn’t control. We now have a chance to focus on our future, apply lessons learned, and unshackle ourselves fully from the errors of the past.
We can rebuild our majority by winning the issues one by one and moving the American people to our side one issue at a time. The Democrats’ agenda will give us regular chances to do this and draw deep and meaningful contrasts on the challenges facing our country.
During the 110th Congress, we learned how to roll up our sleeves and fight until we’d won an issue. We fought successfully to lift the ban on offshore energy drilling. We supported the Petraeus surge, it worked, and now our troops are coming home after victory rather than defeat. We blocked billions of dollars in proposed new spending by Democrats. We learned that when we stand together as a team on principle for the American people, there’s little we can’t accomplish.
The energy protest started by Mike Pence, Tom Price, Lynn Westmoreland and others last August was an historic event that gave Americans perhaps the most vivid glimpse of our potential. While Democrats were on vacations and book tours, we stayed in town demanding a vote, defying expectations and putting the country’s interests ahead of our own. We showed Americans we stand with them.
If history is any guide, we will have many opportunities to show them again in the months ahead. And we must. We have not yet convinced the American people that Republicans have returned to our roots as the party of reform. We haven’t yet earned their trust. But we will.
Therein lies our opportunity. Rise or fall, Congressional Republicans in the next two years will be judged on our own record, our own vision, and our own agenda – and our willingness to hold Washington Democrats accountable.
I’m deeply disappointed by the outcome of Tuesday’s election. But I’m equally committed to building a lasting majority on the reform principles that define us and inspire our citizens. For this reason, I’m writing today to announce my candidacy for Republican Leader in the 111th Congress, and to request the honor of your vote.
As your Leader, I’ve worked tirelessly for our team, and tried to lead by example. I’ll always be straight with you, and I’ll always be open to your ideas. You deserve nothing less. I can’t ask for the best from you unless I’m willing to give it myself.
Winning the majority and rebuilding our party will require the best from all of us. But this is not unfamiliar territory. We’ve faced and overcome these challenges before, and working together as a bold, unified, and energetic team, we’ll do it again.
I’m ready to get started today. I’m confident you are too. I look forward to speaking with you in person and outlining our plans for the future. It’s time for the losing to stop. And my commitment to you is that it will.
I humbly ask for your support and the privilege of serving as House Republican Leader in the next Congress.