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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023

America’s Question of the Week

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What Drives Mike Johnson?

While Congressman Mike Johnson was taking the oath as Speaker of the House of Representatives, the national media and people all over the country were scrambling to answer the question, “Who is the new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson?” This is written to answer the question for them.

Julia Letlow, his colleague in the House of Representatives from Northeast and Central Louisiana, summed up the character of the new speaker in an interview on KTBS-3 on the day he was chosen. She said, “He is truly a person of great integrity and great faith.”

She noted, “We can find in Mike great kindness and warmth. He lets his faith guide him so he treats others with respect and dignity.”

Ms. Letlow closed her thoughts by saying, “I can’t think of a more generous, caring and strong advocate for Louisiana and now for the entire country.”

If you want to really know Mike Johnson and what drives him, you don’t have to look very far. He wrote it down in a Republican Study Committee document, “Seven Core Principles of Conservatism.” When he sent it to me to read years ago, I was blown away by how he captured the best of our past and a hopeful future. The following are words and thoughts from the document he authored.

Core principle number one is individual freedom. The birth of our great nation was inspired by the bold declaration that our individual, God-given liberties should be preserved against government intrusion. ... In America, we proclaim the self-evident truths that all of us are created equal and granted by God the same inherent freedoms, such as the natural and unalienable rights to life, liberty, conscience, free speech and the free exercise of religion, and the ability to pursue happiness, own property, build wealth, and defend ourselves and our families.

The second core principle is limited government. For individual liberty to be championed, government must be reduced. We believe, as our founders did, that legitimate government operates only by the consent of the governed and is more efficient and less corrupt when it is limited in size and scope.

The third principle is the rule of law.

Ours is “a government of laws and not of men,” and the rule of law is our foundation.

To maintain order, liberty and a civilized society, public and private virtue should be encouraged, and justice must be administered equally and impartially to all.

The fourth principle is peace through strength. The first obligation of the federal government is to provide for the “common defense” of the United States by securing our borders and protecting our homeland and our strategic interests abroad. … We must remain the strongest military power on earth that is fully prepared and capable of defeating any adversaries, tyrants or terrorists, under any circumstances, at any time.”

The fifth principle is fiscal responsibility.

Because the government has refused to live within its means, America faces an unprecedented debt and spending crisis. Federal debt now exceeds $33.5 trillion, and our current fiscal path is unsustainable and dangerous, jeopardizing our nation’s economic growth, stability and the security of future generations.

The sixth principle is free markets.

Government often stands as the greatest obstacle to the progress and prosperity of free people. Free markets and free trade agreements allow for innovation, improvement and economic expansion as risk-takers; entrepreneurs and business owners are given the liberty to pursue the American dream and create more jobs and upward mobility for more people.

The seventh core principle is human dignity. Because all men are created equal, and in the image of God, every human life has inestimable dignity and value, and every person should be measured only by the content of their character. A just government protects life, honors marriage and family as the primary institutions of a healthy society and embraces the vital cultural influences of religion and morality.

As to how these principles will guide him, Congressperson Letlow drew from the acceptance speech of Speaker Johnson. She said, “I was so encouraged to hear in his acceptance speech talk about unity and talk about strength. We need that so desperately with what we face worldwide.”

With these principles enumerated, Speaker Johnson closes the document, writing, “In America, everyone who plays by the rules should get a fair shot. By preserving these ideals, we will maintain the goodness of America that has been the secret to our greatness.”

Here it is for all to see. Here are the guiding principles of our new Speaker of the House. For those who really want to know, this is what drives Mike Johnson.

Dr Phillip Rozeman is a practicing physician. He is the past chief of staff of WK Health System and past chair of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

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