Demeanor is going to matter a lot in the next few years.

John Boehner, Speaker-presumptive, struck, I thought the right note. I didn’t even mind the tears because Boehner was, unlike most TV weepers, actually trying not to cry.  Boehner really did seem awed that he had ascended to the speakership. He presented a John Boehner starkly at odds with the “Mr. Boehner” caricatured by the president during the campaign. Wisely, Boehner stressed that this is “not the time for celebration” because too many people are struggling. Somber was the right tone. Strutting is out. Cocky Tom DeLay, former GOP majority leader in the House, would not fit in with the new Republicans.

These Republicans know that the voters don’t really like them any more than they like the Democrats (well, maybe a little?) and that everything depends on what they accomplish and whether they can make the voters proud. This will require humility. It will require not succumbing to the temptations of Washington and not becoming nasty because the MSM doesn’t like them and deciding how to work with the man who is still POTUS. No wonder Boehner was so subdued.

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: Mr. Boehner, consider flying commercial.

The military plane that Speaker Pelosi used was a potent symbol of privilege (it also cost money, but don’t worry about that-it’s only us taxpayers here). It sequestered her from the trials and tribulations of our daily lives and meant that she didn’t have to risk associating with us. There are times you won’t be able to fly commercial. But do it when you can.

It can be a powerful symbol for you in a day when the taxpayers will spend $200 million a day for President Obama and his entourage to visit Mumbai. We all want our president to be safe and protected, but it’s time to raise questions about this kind of spending. 

We don’t need a lot of new rules about what representatives can and can’t accept from lobbyists. We need people with a sense of what is appropriate-right-and what is not. Republicans, you’re still on academic probation.  Mr. Boehner set the right tone last night. You will have many opportunities to blow it, though. Every day.