Boehner’s resignation is only a temporary fix to a Grand Old Problem
Speaker of the House John Boehner’s resignation last Friday came as a shock to nearly everyone within the GOP.
The caucus had originally met to discuss the advancement of different legislation to fund the government, but a choked up Boehner chose this venue to announce his impending resignation. Rep. Lee Zeldin, (R-NY) said at the conference, “A lot of grown men and women were crying, especially those who know him the most.”
Boehner’s resignation frees him from the pressure of Tea Party Republicans, who have been trying to compel him to take a harder stance against President Barrack Obama and the Democrat agenda. His speakership has been threatened on numerous occasions, and fellow Republicans had even filed motions to vote to remove him. Boehner has been known to be a dealmaker, and to alienate the president and Democrats on a consistent basis isn’t a great way to make deals. But by doing this, he had alienated part of his own party instead.
But his resignation is still only a temporary fix to a much larger problem.
With Boehner’s resignation, Congress was able to avoid a shutdown on Wednesday by passing a temporary spending bill that will keep the government open until December. The bill did not include any language to defund Planned Parenthood
, and relied on Democrats to pass. The fight over Planned Parenthood will continue to rage on , and will have to be addressed again in December, when the temporary measure expires.
It was noble for Boehner to fall on his sword for the good of the Republican Party and the institution of Congress itself. He was able to see that it would do irreparable harm to not only Republicans, but also Congress itself
, and more importantly the American People. Another government shutdown is simply unacceptable , and affects too many lives to be considered a legitimate means to an end. It would likely have cost Republicans dearly in 2016 as well.
But the next Speaker will be faced with identical problems that culminated in Boehner’s resignation. Tea Party Republicans will continue to refuse to budge over funding for Planned Parenthood
, and will continue to threaten a shutdown unless a spending bill with language to defund the organization is put forward. They will continue to demand hard line stances against President Obama and Democrats alike.
But simply not compromising on anything isn’t going to work.
What made Boehner a great speaker, according to his colleagues, was his ability to negotiate and make deals. He was able to work with Democrats and Republicans alike. He is a pragmatist who knows you can’t always get what you want. This rings especially true in government, where two ideologies are constantly pulling against each other.
The Republican Party needs to address deeper issues than its leadership positions. Factions within the Republican Party itself are apparent
, and they were able to effectively remove the Speaker of the House from his position. It is this group that consistently threatens shutdown unless they get their way. Level-headed Republicans like Boehner know that deal making is part of the legislative process needed to take back the Republican Party so it does not walk itself off a cliff.
How the next Speaker chooses to handle the Tea Party will be a defining moment for the Republicans. If he or she should choose to side with the Tea Party, it is likely that the American people will see even more gridlock in Washington and further shutdowns. It is hard to see how this approach would be effective and it will likely hurt any Republican presidential candidate in 2016.
If they were to choose to not take such a hardline approach toward Democrats and consider compromise, we will likely see another Tea Party rebellion and more in fighting. This will again make the job of Speaker of the House extremely difficult, but will hopefully allow for more actual legislation in Congress.
Hopefully the next Speaker will be able to consider the good of the people, the party and the institution itself. If not, Republicans might just walk themselves off a cliff.
William Krause is a political columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org