25 September 2015
Boehner sacrifices himself?
Apparently determined to prevent a government shutdown that would be blamed on his party's fanatic opposition to funding Planned Parenthood, the Speaker of the House announced that he would resign at the end of next month. Early reports have interpreted his decision as a concession to Tea Partiers in the GOP congressional caucus to ease passage of a "clean" spending bill that would preserve funding for Planned Parenthood and prevent a presidential veto. The party's right wing reportedly was gearing up for another challenge to Boehner's Speakership, and it was believed that he could not survive the next attempt without getting support from Democrats. TPs are celebrating all over the Internet this afternoon. In their mirror universe John Boehner has been a lapdog for President Obama, or else a coward for failing to take the radical steps the TPs demand. Many feel the same way about the Senate majority leader. As far as the TPs are concerned there can be no reason for party leaders not to do as the base allegedly demands except cowardice or corruption. Whether they can put one of their own in Boehner's place is unclear. Wiser heads among the Republicans may realize that the kind of brinkmanship the TPs want to indulge in probably won't play well in an election year. In fact, right now would be a good time to ask the presidential candidates who'd they favor as the next Speaker, i.e. the leader of their party in the House of Representatives, if only because I'm sure some of the candidates couldn't name a single Representative. Some people actually want to credit the Pope for Boehner's decision, claiming either that the pontiff's homily before Congress yesterday inspired the Speaker to make his conciliatory sacrifice or that Boehner considered bringing Francis to the Capitol his ultimate accomplishment, after which there was no reason to remain. But maybe he was jealous of the Pope, or didn't like what he heard from him yesterday, and knowing that Bergoglio was going to deliver more of the same today at the United Nations, decided to steal his thunder and crowd him out of the headlines. Check your news channels tonight to see if Boehner succeeded.