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Barack Obama must go in 2012 if America is to survive as a free, independent, self-governing nation under a constitutional framework.

Anyone with appreciation of the uniqueness of our country’s place in history surely recognizes this fact.

But there is at least one other elected official who needs to be challenged and defeated in the 2012 elections – and he is a Republican.

His name is John Boehner, and he is speaker of the House of Representatives.

Boehner needs to be challenged from the right – be it a legitimate primary contest or a third-party candidate in the general election.

This needs to be done not only because Boehner is unfit as a leader of the Republican House, but as an example to future Republican House speakers.

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It was Boehner, along with Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who sold out on a historic opportunity for a return to constitutionally limited government with their over-the-top appeasement on raising the debt limit in exchange for no cuts in spending, no freeze on spending, no brakes on government intrusion and overreaching – just more business as usual.

If McConnell were up for re-election in 2012, he would be a target, too. But he does not have to face voters in Kentucky again until 2014.

Would I like to see Harry Reid thrown out as majority leader of the Senate? Absolutely, but he, too, does not face re-election in 2012, so that will have to be done by electing more real, tea-party Republicans to the Senate. Would I like to see Nancy Pelosi dislodged for her disgraceful conduct as House speaker and House minority leader? Sure. But that’s unrealistic in her safe, progressive district. Tactically, it’s better to defang these elements by making them less and less relevant with solid Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

But Boehner is another matter.

If Republicans score more seats in the House in 2012, and Boehner survives, he will almost assuredly return as speaker of the House – and that is simply an unacceptable possibility if we are to undo the damage of the previous administration and Congress.

Boehner presided over the biggest capitulation to unlimited government in my lifetime. He had an opportunity to force Washington to live within its means beginning this year. Instead, he pushed a phony 10-year deal that only results in ever-growing government and red ink as far as the eye (or I) can see.

We can’t accept overspending and borrowing to form an accepted baseline for the foreseeable future – and that’s exactly what Boehner’s leadership has wrought.

Yes, our focus in 2012 needs to be on replacing Barack Obama with someone representing his polar opposite. But Boehner’s treachery and cowardice and accommodation must not be forgotten. We need to replace him for practical reasons and also to send a message to his successor.

The next speaker needs to understand there will be consequences to appeasement of the Washington establishment.

After all:

We’re not supposed to have a “permanent government” in America.

We’re not supposed to have an unaccountable oligarchy that makes decisions behind closed doors.

We’re not supposed to have a Congress without the courage to make hard decisions – one that passes off the work to elite committees rather than to do the people’s business.

We’re not supposed to have a Congress unresponsive to the will of the American people.

We’re not supposed to compromise with the very governing principles that set America apart from the rest of the world.

John Boehner may be a very nice guy. I’ve met him, and he seems amiable enough. But he is not what we need in a speaker of the House if we are to take America back from the Obama-nation. It’s not even a close call.

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