First Read: “In covering politics, you always want to resist the temptation to overstate things. After all, what’s up one day can go down the next. But it’s difficult to see what took place in Congress last night as anything other than an unmitigated disaster and embarrassing blunder for House Republicans — all over something that was viewed as a negotiating tactic or PR move.”
Steve Kornacki: “Last night was hardly the first public humiliation that John Boehner has suffered at the hands of his fellow Republicans, but it’s probably the most stark. And it raises some very basic questions about the House speaker’s political future – like whether he even has one.”
“The demise of Plan B also calls Boehner’s job security into question. The Obama-era conservative base has never trusted him; he’s been in Washington too long, he cut too many pre-2008 deals with Democrats, and he voted for too much spending. Since he claimed the speaker’s gavel, they’ve been watching him like a hawk for any sign he’s about to sell them out, virtually eliminating his ability to cut deals on their behalf. What happened last night indicates that this dynamic hasn’t changed since the election, and with the January 3 vote for speaker coming up, there is some chatter now that House conservatives might attempt to dethrone Boehner.”
I’m not really sure why John Boehner didn’t resign last night. If he were a man of principle, he would have. But he still wants the power and the position even though he made it as plain as day last night he has no power. If the House of Representatives were a Parliament, he would have had to resign, and new elections would have been called. Personally, I have no idea how he hangs onto the position. The Republican caucus has decided to preserve nihilism as a strategy. The best leader for that is Cantor or Paul Ryan, or if they really want to go crazy: Michelle Bachmann.
But then again, a fellow Republican congressman was unusually blunt, and perhaps accurate:
Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, who is close to Boehner, said the idea that this episode has hurt Boehner’s speakership is, “like saying the superintendent of an insane asylum should be discharged because he couldn’t control the crazy people. I mean that’s nuts.”