Monday, January 3, 2011

The New Speaker

I continue to be impressed at John Boehner's actions since November.  Yes, there's a lot of garbage in the rules reform package, but I think from the point of view of the Republican majority, it's a good package: it makes it easier to run the large deficits they prefer, and there's plenty of nonsense for Tea Partiers to enjoy.  The various choices for committee chairs seemed, at least from what I noticed, to be sensible and relatively smoothly accomplished.   

I also think it's smart of him to keep a relatively low profile, compared to Nancy Pelosi and especially Newt Gingrich.  Even better, it's smart of him, or at least his press office, to convince the WaPo to go with the spin that he's keeping a relatively low profile compared to Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich.  I particularly love the chutzpah of spinning that the reason they're not going to try to pass anything quickly is because, unlike previous Congresses, they're focused on Big Issues which just can't be done quickly.  And, no, I'm not being sarcastic here.  Spin should follow substance, not force it.  If Boehner and the Republicans don't have legislation they agree on and are ready to pass, they're way better off finding some way to sell it, no matter how preposterous, then they would be rushing a bunch of stuff to the floor of the House that they aren't really interested in.   That said, it would be much less good news if it indicates he's overly buying into the Sonny Bono explanation for Newt's fall.

I think Boehner's path over the next year is going to be very difficult, and perhaps impossible -- I just don't know if there's any way to reconcile the preferences of his conference with economic, budget, and political reality.  So far, at least, I think he's off to as good a start as can be hoped.


  1. Just as I became convinced that your tongue was somewhere north of your eye teeth, you said this:

    And, no, I'm not being sarcastic here.

    Well, you got me there. Seriously.

    Re: Committees - the chairs might be sensible, but did you notice he put Michelle Bachman on Intelligence?

    That, all by itself, wipes out all his atta-boys.


  2. is this admirable behavior boehner's conscious choice, or simply an aspect of the political terrain he finds himself traversing? maybe what we're seeing is the fact that the "tea party" spirit is in control, and that boehner was only able to become speaker because he wouldn't try and curb it.
    I'm interested to see how well he's able to whip up the tough political votes down the road. as the "tea party" spirit fades, will we see more pelosi-style behavior?

  3. Yes, but was his profile lower than Denny Hastert's?


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