What should happen in Washington–but won’t.

I genuinely believe that Speaker John Boehner would like to come to an agreement with the White House, for the simple reason that he’s an Ohio Republican, and we generally don’t grow extremist nutjobs around here, Joe (er, Sam) the (back-tax-owing, not really licensed as a) Plumber notwithstanding and Dennis Kucinich notwithstanding. Our Republicans generally look like George Voinovich rather than Ann Coulter, and our Democrats more like John Glenn than Abbie Hoffman. We’re a state that’s good at compromise. Even both our professional football teams wear essentially the same colors.

So I really do believe in his heart of hearts, John Boehner would like to find some sort of agreement that everyone will hate but can live with, and move on. But his own backbenchers won’t let him; if he dares try to compromise, the teabag contingent will happily revolt and throw him out of the speakership and either they’ll elevate one of the extremists to the speakership, or the teabaggers will sit on their hands and let Nancy Pelosi become a plurality speaker.

What Boehner should do, and won’t, is this: take a good head count of the votes he’ll lose by compromising, and speak to at least that many conservative Democrats (and there are plenty to choose from, especially from the south, and more than enough to cover the potential defections), and basically tell his extremist wing to go fuck themselves, this country needs to operate. At a stroke, he looks like the grownup and the statesman, and can claim the mantle of bipartisanship, rather than being the tool of his backbenchers and the poster boy for obstructionism.

Won’t happen. Ever. Not a chance.

Which is the real tragedy here.

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2 comments so far

  1. Paul Cales on

    I think you’re being too kind.

    Too many roll counts have said he has the votes to get out of this without even lifting a finger – just as it stands now. And the number of extremist, Tea-party people is only about 30-40 … in a body of 435 people. I realize the complete loss of those votes would shift the balance of power, but I find it impossible to believe those extremists will no longer vote for Republican issues if they are shut out of this one vote – far from it – so I don’t see why these idiots should be given support at all.

    If Republicans are worried that how they vote now will cause the uprising of dangerous Tea Party challengers in their own districts – as has been the many-times suggested reasoning behind this capitulation to such a small group – then perhaps the Republicans en masse should repudiate the ideas espoused by the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, and FOX News and then pass some legislation that all Americans can respect and appreciate.

    Honestly, people – you’re making this much harder than it needs to be.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Kind, not particularly. He’s clearly putting his own political survival ahead of what he knows is best for the country, and he knows that’s what he’s doing — he’d rather be the hood ornament on a car heading full speed for a brick wall than a pedestrian observing the whole thing and walking away unscathed. I expect it’s because of his previous experience as one of Gingrich’s henchmen, and getting tossed out of party leadership for a while.

      I think if he found a good stand-down point, he’d jump on it. I just don’t think he’s looking very hard for one.


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