Nancy Pelosi will surrender the House Speaker’s gavel to John Boehner today. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives has already made its influence felt by forcing President Barack Obama to cut a deal to stave off scheduled tax increases for another two years—and the economy and markets seem to be responding positively.
Republicans, however, cannot afford to rest on this early victory. They rose to power—or at least, to power-sharing—on the confidence of tea party activists, Republican stalwarts and independent voters that they would press for reform on Capitol Hill. Spending restraint, deficit reduction, health care reform, respect for Constitutional limits on federal authority and regulatory reform must all be high on the Republican agenda if the Grand Old Party hopes to keep this confidence intact through 2012.