In the hours after the election, I wrote about Humility on the Hill. The presumptive Speaker was all about humility last night. From his talk to new members:
“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.”
He had a little history:
“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.”
A little on what November was about:
“This is no ordinary year, and this is no ordinary freshman class. And this is no ordinary time for our nation.”
And he set himself up as coach:
“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.”
About that Constitution:
“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.”