Would it surprise anyone if John Boehner announced before the end of the month that he’s leaving the Republican Party and is becoming the first member of the “Whig Party” in almost 200 years?
We guess he just doesn’t understand history very well. Of course, the case could be made that he doesn’t understand much of anything very well, except for survival. And that he’s got down pat. Boehner could be Speaker for Life – now that he has the Democrats in the House on his side.
There was rumbling right after the election that conservatives would revolt against Speaker Boehner because there was no expectation that he would stand up against President Obama’s executive amnesty. Or anything else the President wanted.
Boehner put down that uprising by promising to fund everything else but DHS for the full year and they’d fight the good fight in February. Sure enough February came and went and Boehner (and McConnell) caved in and gave Obama everything he wanted.
Which caused conservatives to rumble again.
At that point the Democrats floated the idea that they would be happy to vote for Boehner as Speaker. That pretty well got formalized last week.
Democrats are outnumbered by more than 50 members – and have almost no power to bring bills to the floor.
But they see Boehner as a willing compromiser on must-pass legislation like funding the government and raising the debt ceiling – once the Speaker can convince his troops that the partisan route endorsed by his conservative wing has been denied.
By banding together in veto-sustaining majorities against conservative proposals demanded by Boehner’s right flank, Democrats hope to both sink those GOP measures and grease the skids for more moderate compromises.
The bottom line with this deal is that Boehner is more than willing to deal with Democrats. No matter that the Democrat agenda has been roundly pounded at the polls. No matter that he’s got the largest Republican majority since the 20s. No matter that he’s supposed to be a Republican.
Boehner has a long history of hating conservatives and anyone who identifies with the Tea Party.
The first test of this new coalition came with the DHS funding vote. Boehner’s legislation got the votes of only 74 Republicans. Every Democrat voted in favor and it passed. Don’t expect this to be the last time this will happen. With a solid block of Democrats ready and willing to vote for anything that pisses off conservatives, Boehner has a free hand to feed the Establishment.
Boehner has vowed there will be no more government shutdowns or threats of Treasury defaults on his watch – a message echoed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). And, encouraged by the DHS debate, Democrats seem ready to take the Speaker at his word.
“This is a guy who worked with Teddy Kennedy and George Miller in passing No Child Left Behind,” Hoyer said this week, referring to a landmark education reform law enacted in 2001. “This is not a guy who’s been unwilling throughout his career to work across the aisle.
NCLB. That’s certainly the legislation a conservative would want to attach his legacy to. Working with Ted Kennedy. Wow.
“We’re always a resource to each other,” she added, referring to Boehner, “and hopefully, … this will be a good example of how we go forward.”
Unfortunately there’s almost no probability John Boehner will lose either a primary or a general election in his district. There’s also no real probability that Democrats will have a majority in the House in John Boehner’s lifetime.
Given those two facts, Democrats will be happy to vote for Speaker Boehner every two years until Hell freezes over. At which point we’ll be happy to offer the Speaker a cold place in Hell. Should he happen to die prior to Hell freezing over, we really hope that he finds a very hot place.
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