Thursday, 12 September 2013

More Proof John Boehner is Bad at his Job? (This time, not from TRMS!)

US Syria Boehner

Credit: AP

Rachel Maddow has run a semi-frequent segment on her week-nightly show on MSNBC, taking a look at the various ways in which John Boehner is just bad at his job. Yesterday, however, Politico ran an article by Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan that supports this hypothesis, too, without articulating it explicitly. [In Politico-lingo, a hat-tip to Molly Ball at The Atlantic who also wrote about this.]

The Politico article, entitled “John Boehner, Eric Cantor struggle to lead House”, reports (in its opening sentence) that,

There are times when it looks like Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have no idea how to run the House Republican Conference.

Now, as someone firmly of the Democratic persuasion, I think this has been evident for years (and not only because Rachel Maddow has done such a good job of chronicling Boehner’s fecklessness as Speaker). Persistent, “quixotic” and non-binding (i.e. symbolic but utterly-useless except as an electoral prop) attempts to defund Obamacare, and a Tea Party revolt against a government funding bill, bode ill for the future, and cast a pall over Boehner’s and Eric Cantor’s ability to keep their historically-focused party in line. It used to be the Democrats who couldn’t pull together often enough to push through their desired legislation and agendas, because they were too disparate. Now, however, it appears that the Republican Tea Party caucus is intent on thumbing its nose at, well, everybody.

According to the Politico piece,

A clearly frustrated Boehner seemed to realize that he leads a conference where no plan is quite good enough. There are frequently about 30 Republicans who oppose leadership’s carefully crafted plans — just enough to mess things up. A reporter asked him whether he has a new idea to resolve the government funding fight. He laughed and said, “No.”

“Do you have an idea?” he asked the reporters. “They’ll just shoot it down anyway.”

It’s nice that the Republican leadership is now experiencing a bit of its own medicine. This has, after all, been the GOP’s strategy throughout the Obama presidency…

It looks like we’re getting ready for a re-run of the previous government-shutdown-circus, too:

To help pass a government-funding bill out of the House, GOP insiders expect they’ll have to take an increasingly hard-line position that will be irreconcilable with the Senate and White House preferences. That increases the chances of a government shutdown at the end of the month. GOP leadership aides say they’ll still work to gather support on the original bill next week.

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Credit: Reuters

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UPDATE: John Boehner’s future and time as Speaker (and whether or not he is bad at his job) was also discussed on UP with Steve Kornacki (September 14th):

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