25 September 2015

He Didn't Jump, He Was Pushed

In a surprise announcement, the worst Speaker of the House in the history of ……… well ……… history, John Boehner, made a surprise announcement that he will be resigning from Congress:
Speaker John A. Boehner, an Ohio barkeeper’s son who rode a conservative wave to one of the highest positions in government, said Friday he would relinquish his gavel and resign from Congress, undone by the very Republicans who swept him into power.

Mr. Boehner, 65, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning as lawmakers struggled to avert a government shutdown next week, a possibility made less likely by his decision.

Mr. Boehner told almost no one of his decision before making it Friday morning. “So before I went to sleep last night, I told my wife, I said, ‘You know, I might just make an announcement tomorrow,’ ” Mr. Boehner said at a news conference in the Capitol. “This morning I woke up, said my prayers, as I always do, and thought, ‘This is the day I am going to do this.’ ”

His downfall again highlighted the sinewy power of a Republican Party faction whose anthem is often to oppose government action. It also made vivid the increasingly precarious nature of a job in which the will and proclivities of politically divisive body must be managed. No House speaker since Thomas P. O’Neill Jr., who held the gavel from 1977 to 1986, has left the job willingly.
As much as I appreciate the standard line that Boehner left under his own power, I kind of doubt it.

If this was really about him being tired of a restive Congress, he would have left when he realized that he lacked the skill of vote counting, which is essential for a legislature.

I have repeatedly referred to him as the worst Speaker ever because, in the House of Congress most amenable to steam roller politics, he was constantly back on his heels, because he wanted the job of Speaker so badly that he was unable and unwilling to actually manage the house.

It simply makes no sense that he left left because he got tired. He left because some of his colleagues had "the talk" with him.

Still, if you favor the "left under his own power" theory, I would suggest that you read ​Charlie Pierce's take on this:
Way I figure it is this. In their private chat yesterday, Boehner explained to the pope the problems he was having with the flying monkey caucus, and Papa Francesco who, after all, heads a bureaucracy with a long history as a seething cauldron of ambition, scandal, murder and betrayal, as well as a unique tradition of crazy institutional proceedings (See: Cadaver Synod), listened to Boehner's plight and said, mildly, "Jesus H. Christ in a Fiat, my son, these people crazy. Get out while you can." That's the way I'm going to figure it, anyway.
It is a sane theory, but sanity does not apply in this situation.

Sanity has almost been as rare as competence during the Speakership of John Boehner.


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