Boehner, unseated by the GOP

A piece from the New York Times reports that House Speaker John Boehner is to resign, “Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, announced on Friday that he would resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, as Congress moved to avert a government shutdown. Mr. Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning.  “My first job as speaker is to protect the institution,” Mr. Boehner said at a news conference at the Capitol, adding, “It had become clear to me that this prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable harm to the institution.”

The report mentions “Looking poised and sounding rehearsed, Mr. Boehner, who stunned the capital with his news, became emotional as he recalled a moment alone with Pope Francis, who had been his guest the day before at the Capitol and who had asked the speaker to pray for him. Reflecting on his decision, he said, “This morning, I woke up, said my prayers, as I always do, and thought, ‘This is the day I am going to do this.’ ” House Speaker John A. Boehner announced his resignation on Friday, saying that he would leave Congress at the end of October”.
Pointedly the piece remembers that “Boehner, 65, from Ohio, had struggled from almost the moment he took the speaker’s gavel in 2011 to manage the challenges of divided government and to hold together his fractious and increasingly conservative Republican members. Most recently, he was trying to craft a solution to keep the government open through the rest of the year, but was under pressure from a growing base of conservatives who told him that they would not vote for a bill that did not defund Planned Parenthood. Mr. Boehner’s announcement lessened the chance of a government shutdown next week, because Republican leaders will push for a short-term funding measure to keep the government operating and the speaker will no longer be deterred by those who threatened his job.  It will be up to a majority of the members of the House now to choose a new leader, and the leading candidate is Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader, who is viewed more favourably by the House’s more conservative members. The preferred candidate among many Republicans, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has said he does not want the job”.
Not surprisingly, the piece warns “Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, said: “The next speaker is going to have a very tough job. The fundamental dynamics don’t change.” Mr. Dent said there had been “a lot of sadness in the room” when Mr. Boehner made his announcement to colleagues, and he blamed the House’s hard-right members, who he said were unwilling to govern. “It’s clear to me that the rejectionist members of our conference clearly had an influence on his decision,” Mr. Dent said. “That’s why I’m not happy about what happened today. We still have important issues to deal with, and this will not be easier for the next guy.” “The dynamics are this,” he continued. “There are anywhere from two to four dozen members who don’t have an affirmative sense of governance. They can’t get to yes. They just can’t get to yes, and so they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead. And not only do they undermine the ability of the speaker to lead, but they undermine the entire Republican conference and also help to weaken the institution of Congress itself. That’s the reality”.
The report ends “President Obama said Friday that Mr. Boehner’s resignation took him by surprise. He said he called Mr. Boehner moments before holding a news conference with the Chinese president, and he praised the speaker as a “good man” and a “patriot” who cares deeply about the House of Representatives. “We have obviously had a lot of disagreements, and politically we are at the opposite end of the spectrum,” Mr. Obama said. But, he added, Mr. Boehner “has always conducted himself with civility and courtesy with me.” And, the president said, Mr. Boehner is “somebody who understands that in government, governance, you don’t always get 100 percent of what you want.” The president declined to speculate about Mr. Boehner’s replacement, but he warned that the next speaker should not be someone willing to shut the government down if policy demands were not met”.
Worryingly for the future of the governance of the United States the article mentions that “Addressing reporters after his remarks at the conservative summit meeting, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spoke harshly of Mr. Boehner. “The early reports are discouraging,” Mr. Cruz said. “If it is correct that the speaker, before he resigns, has cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of this year, to fund Obamacare, to fund executive amnesty, to fund Planned Parenthood, to fund implementation of this Iran deal, and then presumably to land a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities, that is not the behaviour one would expect from a Republican speaker of the House.” Mr. Cruz declined to offer his view of Mr. McCarthy, saying only that he hoped House Republicans “select a strong conservative.” Mr. Obama said he expected Republicans to debate who would be their next leader, but he was sanguine about the decision bringing significant change, saying, “It’s not as if there’s been a multitude of areas” where Republicans in the House have worked with him in the past”.
Pointedly the author notes “Senator John McCain of Arizona said that he was taken aback and that Mr. Boehner’s resignation had perilous implications for Republican prospects going into next year’s elections. “It means that it’s in disarray,” Mr. McCain said in a brief interview. “Basically, he has been unseated. And that’s not good for the Republican Party.” His advice? “We’ve got to unite and recognize who the adversary is.” For decades, Mr. Boehner legislated as a stalwart Republican institutionalist. He became speaker after a Tea Party wave in the 2010 election swept Republicans into the majority in the House on a call to drastically curb federal spending and the role of government”.
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2 Responses to “Boehner, unseated by the GOP”

  1. Order and Tradition Says:

    […] Speaker Boehner has resigned a piece looks at the candidates to replace him and the potential foreign policy implications of […]

  2. Order and Tradition Says:

    […] its own leaders as anywhere else. First, a contingent of several dozen conservative House members effectively forced Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) to resign rather than face a possibly losing battle to hold on to his […]

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