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.