Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sweet Resignation

In a weird sort of way, I sympathize with Rep. John Boehner. Like a right-wing Icarus, Boehner saw opportunity in the Tea Party takeover of Congress following the 2010 midterm elections. Ultimately, he didn't realize that the position of Speaker of the House requires more pragmatism than his far-right allies anticipated. The group of congressman that he caucused with were accused (somewhat unfairly) of caving to President Obama and house Democrats, especially during the disastrous government shutdown two years ago. John Boehner was the adult in a room of children, the one level-headed voice in a clown car of crazies. He was loathed by Democrats for pushing a rigid agenda, and disdained by some Republicans for being too wishy-washy. In the end, you almost can't blame him for resigning.

My primary concern, however is whether the remedy will be worse than the malady. The assumed short list of possible candidates to succeed Boehner is a mix of establishment and Tea Party Republicans, and overall not that inspiring. Whether or not this person serves beyond the next 15 months isn't dependent upon the Democrats making any gains in the 2016 election (a long shot at this point) but the various fissures within the GOP. This person will have the Sisyphean task of forming a united front for two large and disparate factions of the party, one louder than the other, an area where Rep. Boehner tried many times and ultimately failed. In short, the GOP parents are going out to dinner, and they need a new babysitter.


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