John Boehner has had a hell of a couple weeks, so maybe I should cut him a break. But as Speaker of the House, Boehner really needs to suck it up and get his priorities straight. After getting his ass handed to him by losing the fiscal cliff negotiations that he’d worked so hard to convert into a win, having to eat crow after telling Harry Reid to go fuck himself only to see Reid prevail, and along the way watching his principle deputies break ranks and oppose him, he had an opportunity to pass a bill for Hurricane Sandy relief.
I understand the impulse to blow off the Northeast — it’s hostile territory for the national Republican Party — but while it may sound counter-intutive, the Northeast is critical to the GOP’s national aspirations. The House of Representatives remains in Republican hands because of gerrymandering, a fact that Republicans are forced to confront when their House superstars, like Todd Akin, venture into statewide races and get thumped. But Republicans capable of winning in the more liberal Northeast have an actual chance of winning national elections. And John Boehner has pissed them off.
This move has two possible repercussions: (1) Boehner radicalizes the Republicans against its Northeastern representatives, dooming the party — more so — in 2016; or (2) incur the wrath of the Northeastern Republicans who could join with the Tea Party folks that already have it in for Boehner and undermine his Speakership. Neither outcome works to Boehner’s advantage. And the second is looking possible, with Peter King and Michael Grimm suggesting they won’t vote for Boehner in the upcoming leadership elections.
Maybe he didn’t want to pass a spending package after passing a tax increase with no offsetting spending cuts. Fine. But this only raises further questions about Boehner’s leadership. He could have passed this plan weeks ago while the media attention was elsewhere. Waiting until the last day only guaranteed that he’d be placed in this bind.
So again, is John Boehner just stupid?