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The promise our next Speaker will make — and break

We don’t know which party will win the majority in tomorrow’s midterms, and so we don’t know who will take the Speaker’s gavel from the retiring Paul Ryan. But, here’s one thing we are sure of: The next elected Speaker will kick off his or her tenure with a speech promising big changes in how the House operates in the 116th Congress.

The speech will decry the broken ways of Congress and criticize the top-down, leadership-controlled policymaking process of recent years. It will then assure rank-and-file members that, this time, the process will open itself to them. It will promise honest and transparent debate, more accountability for leadership’s actions and a real voice for the minority. Because of these process changes, the speech will say, Congress will once again be a deliberative policymaking body worthy of voters’ confidence and trust.

The speech will not age well. All the promises’ll be broken — as Bruce Springsteen sang, but not in a liberating, Springsteen sort of way.

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