John Boehner currently has one of the most undesirable jobs in the country – leader of the republican party in the House. His party is imploding right before his eyes. They cannot even pass their own bills in the house including Boehner’s bill to avoid the fiscal cliff. There is this constant divide and struggle between mainstream republicans and the Tea Party. For the past two years Boehner has been faced with the daunting task of wrangling the far right into line. By no stretch of the imagination was this an easy responsibility and in some instances I can even sympathize with Mr. Speaker.
On Wednesday, Boehner gave a speech to a private republican group regarding President Obama and his second term agenda. One of the notable quotes from the speech was that Obama’s main goal for his second term is to “annihilate the Republican Party.” Boehner is justifying this statement by citing the president’s inauguration speech. President Obama set forth a harsh agenda for his second term emphasizing a stronger federal government as one of the solutions to our problems.
Boehner’s comment is quite ironic given what republicans did to the president in his first term. On the night of President Obama’s first inauguration, several leaders from the republican party gathered to concocted a plan to resist everything the president proposed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said publicly that their goal was to make President Obama a one term president. The stonewalling of republicans was very evident in Obama’s first term and has continued into his second to some degree. Republicans fought Obama every step of the way on everything in his first term. The president wanted to be a man of compromise but as most republicans uttered, “compromise is a dirty word.” A prime example was the last debt ceiling debacle when the president did not want to raise it himself through his powers invested by the 14th Amendment. He wanted congress to come up with a bi-partisan solution. This ultimately ended in yet another haphazard, band aid solution which lost the United States its Triple-A credit rating. Boehner also acknowledged yesterday how the President is not going to leave things to bi-partisanship, and instead get things done himself. The president tried bi-partisanship in his first term, and it did not work. This is just a prime example of the short memory republicans seem to have on these types of issues.
Boehner did mention, however, how republicans must pick their battles now. This could be a sign that there is progress in congress and the stonewalling notion has been noted as a failed system. The American people are sick of the deadlock in our congress and currently, polls indicate they are upset with republicans. Pollsters noted during the fiscal cliff crisis that Americans would have blamed republicans had we gone over the cliff so to speak. Boehner, I believe, is trying to make progress especially after Republican Governor and major player in the GOP Chris Christie, called him and his House counterparts out for not reaching a deal on Hurricane Sandy relief. The House has also proposed a deal for the debt ceiling.
Another example of republican prowess dwindling is Virginia’s attempt to redistrict in the hopes of winning the presidency in future elections. They are doing this through gerrymandered districts to null democratic votes. Despite the fact that republicans control the state house, senate, and governorship, President Obama won the state in the past two elections. Their hope is to re-draw the districts so republicans will win every time.
There is no question that republicans have been forced to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate their party’s politics. They have lost the chief executive office two terms in a row and are desperate for a plan to get it back in 2016. John Boehner is speaker once again and needs to find a better way to connect with his party or else he will see it crumble before his eyes. I think that they are inching towards bi-partisanship with the resignations of such figures as radical Tea Partier Jim DiMint of South Carolina. Still Boehner needs to get serious with his party and try to get legislation moving because as seen in the president’s last term, Obama does not want to leave things to this flippant congress. Obama is serious this term about getting things done and he is becoming fed up with Boehner and radicals alike.