And the hard right/TEA Party faction claims another scalp. At least, they are taking credit for Speaker of the House John Boehner’s scalp and rejoicing in his resignation announcement. Before Speaker Boehner explained why he decided to make this announcement on this day, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another Republican who resigned rather than put the government through the ringer unnecessarily, explained to Fox News’ Bill Hemmer what he thought this was all about.
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“Part of your party has demands that are not reachable.” Let that sink in before popping champagne corks and lighting off fireworks. Plain and simply, without the votes in both houses of Congress, getting anything substansive done within the hard conservative agenda is next to impossible. Votes get blocked in the Senate. The House cannot override a veto. Without bigger majorities, it’s impossible to really move other than getting the things that all sides can agree on done.
“A block grew up that basically said, we want somebody who will do exactly what we want.” In Gingrich’s case, the block did not get its way. If the name that is being bandied about on news media today, Kevin McCarthy or maybe Paul Ryan, wins a vote, that isn’t what the hard right wants. But, it might be what they get.
“The fact is that 20 or 30 or 40 people is not a majority in the party.” And when they don’t stick with the rest of the party when incremental changes are put in place, instead wanting the whole enchilada all at once rather than taking what you can get until there is momentum, even having any sort of majority gets put in jeopardy.
By his own words, Speaker Boehner, as it happens, wanted to resign last year. He didn’t in order to keep some continuity to Republican leadership after Eric Cantor was outsted – another incident that prompted most unseemly victory laps. Boehner had decided to resign at the end of 2015, but decided to move up the deed in the midst of the 30 or 40 people making demands that could not be met. He didn’t say as much, but it was there between the lines, Gingrich’s thought that he was just worn out.
This afternoon, there are a lot of statements out there about Speaker of the House John Boehner from his colleagues. Most of them save Ted Cruz are classy and lauditory. The words range from honorable, to patriot, to principled. John Boehner DID bring us the largest Republican majority in the House of Representatives since the Great Depression. For the smug and, frankly, nasty people celebrating his stepping aside today, that feat IS worth noting as is the blocking of troop defunding that Nancy Pelosi and company tried when they were in power.
Rep. Pete King today said that this is a “victory for the crazies.” Maybe not crazy, but definitely not for the people who understand that to beat the other side, you have to take what you can get when it happens and don’t piss and moan about it. And please, quit the smug and unseemly victory laps. They really do turn people off – even those of us with similar outlooks.