The odds that Speaker Boehner fails to comprehend the radical nature of the Tea Party extortion threat, its non-existent chances of prevailing, and the damage it’s doing to the GOP are vanishingly small. This is very far from his first rodeo. The suntanned golfer is an eleven-term congressman who’s been involved in party leadership fights almost since arriving in Washington.
Even so, he’s caught in a trap of his own devising. Unwilling to allow any bill to reach the House floor that needs Democratic votes to pass — such as the current budget resolution — he’s found himself checkmated by 30 to 50 Tea Party zealots he needs to get anything done. To cross them would risk losing the speakership. And that would never do.
Like many, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius sees Boehner as a total failure: “Unable to control his own caucus, negotiate effectively with the president or pass legislation, he flounders in office — a likable man who is utterly ineffective.”
More optimistically, York depicts the speaker employing a deliberate rope-a-dope strategy: “After another defeat or two, and under the pressure of a shutdown, Boehner will finally turn to the 30 and say, ‘We tried it your way, over and over. Now, the majority will pass a resolution.’”
Peace in our time.
Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.