Sunday, October 06, 2013

Boehner's Impossible Dream

Everyone involved in the Federal government shutdown, starting with John Boehner, knows that he could end the stalemate in a microsecond.  All he has to do is ignore the Tea Party and call a vote on the "clean" continuing resolution already passed by the Senate.  It's pretty evident that, between the Republicans who are very nervous about the Tea Party stance and the Democrats, the CR would pass.

Boom. The government's back in business.  But it doesn't happen.

I've read in multiple places that Boehner is afraid that, if he ignores the radicals and passes the CR, he'll lose the House Speakership.  Could be.  But he doesn't seem to realize that he's already lost it - he can't control his caucus.  A small but very loud section of his caucus is controlling him.  In fact, as far as I can tell, the person really driving this melodrama is Senator Ted Cruz, who isn't even a member of the House of Representatives!  Meanwhile Boehner cowers behind the podium, making bold but meaningless statements about not wanting to see the government shut down.

The title Speaker of the House used to carry real weight.  It meant a man who could get things done.  The current Speaker of the House cherishes the title so much that he has abdicated all the power to a small group of radicals from gerrymandered districts, just so he can continue to be addressed as "Mr. Speaker."

If he were to act to pass the CR and put the federal government back to work, he might leave the Speakership with some of his honor (that old concept) restored.  As it is, if you listen carefully, you may hear the sound of real Congressional leaders of the past - Sam Rayburn, Lyndon Johnson (a Senate Majority Leader before he was VP), Tip O'Neill and their kin - giving Boehner the razzberry from the heavenly ramparts.

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