Friday, May 18, 2012

Q Day 5: How's Boehner doing?

Colby also asks:
Do you still think Boehner is doing a good job managing his caucus?
Yes, I pretty much do. I continue to think that he has a very difficult job to do, given the median preference in the GOP conference, the general rejectionist attitude towards the entire concept of compromise, the understandable paranoia among the Members about Tea Party primary challenges, and the cold hard facts of divided government. And given all that, he's managed to avoid complete disaster. He's flirted with it several times, but so far seems to have managed to have avoided it. So I'd give him relatively high marks, keeping in mind that the degree of difficulty here is high.


  1. Careful! With such a high bar, someone might trip.

  2. Your answer is interesting.

    You're a lot closer to these things than I am, so I respect your judgment.

    But it seems to me that Boehner has been ineffective at anything other than obstruction, and now has very little control over his caucus. Not so long ago the Reps were highly disciplined and spoke with one voice on all issues. Now, with the tea baggers, they have created a monster that is ignorant, arrogant, and has no respect for tradition nor the institutions of government, nor even the Republican party.

    Are they truly wreaking havoc, or am I misreading the situation?

    Anyway, I love Question Day - very cool!


    1. JzB,
      I'd agree....and that's why I'm not willing to disagree with Jon. I cannot imagine trying to keep an institution functioning when a significant chunk of my majority wants to burn the whole thing to the ground. Obstruction, particularly of Obama's agenda, unifies his majority, and is quite frankly much easier to do than actually legislating, particularly under split government (and an opposition president).

      That said, we get pretty deep into counterfactual land in a situation like this. Do there exist some policies that could pass the House and the Senate? I'm not sure there are. In which case, we might be asking whether the captain of the Titanic did a good job after they hit the iceberg. He didn't blow up the ship, but there wasn't much he could do (note that I'm using the Titanic as a metaphor, not actually referring to whatever really happened after it hit the iceberg. I've managed to avoid watching the movie for this long, and I was educated in a public school, so all I know is "boat hit ice. boat sank."

  3. Boehner is doing a fine job. He's a very able politician, and most of the Republican Party wants him to obstruct most of Obama's legislative initiatives, while occasionally co-operating on issues like renewing the Export-Import Bank, which is important to the US Chamber of Commerce. A party leader in a legislative body is constrained by the ideology of his party caucus's members and that of his party's base and supportive interest groups, and Boehner has operated effectively within those constraints.


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