If, as expected, Republicans retake the House next week, Ohio Rep. John
will almost certainly become the 61st Speaker. What can
America expect from a Boehner-led congress? A variety of opinions from
around the web.
- Tough-to-Fulfill Promises of Bipartisanship The Washington Post's Paul
Kane writes that while Boehner professes to value cooperation and
compromise over "the zero-sum approach to politics" favored by previous
speakers Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, his caucus might not be as
receptive. Boehner, Kane notes, will be forced to contend with "the
prospect of a slim majority" and "a bevy of tea party freshmen arriving
in the capital with what they believe is a mandate to challenge the
leadership," both of which could derail Boehner's "vow to bring courtesy
back to the Capitol."
- Pragmatic Boehner may be conservative, but
he's no ideologue, says Vanity Fair's Todd
Purdum. Rather, he is a typical, traditional, not unreasonable,
frankly likable Republican. Purdum puts Boehner's moderation in context:
is by nature a salesman, a deal-maker, not an ideologue. He has been
respectful of the anger of Tea Party voters and has attended some of
their events, but he has not embraced their tone. He has given a wide
berth to the controversial proposal by Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican
on the House Budget Committee, to dramatically cut back and effectively
privatize Social Security and Medicare. On more than one occasion, at
roundtable discussions with reporters this summer and fall, I watched
him decline to mix it up on hot-button topics on which the loudest
voices in his party had taken strong stands. These included the Obama
administration’s hasty (and mistaken) firing of a black Department of Agriculture official who was accused of making racist remarks, when
in fact she’d been calling for tolerance; the controversy over the
proposed Muslim prayer room and cultural center near Ground Zero, in
Manhattan; and the nature of Barack Obama’s religious beliefs.
Room for Error Boehner will face an early and critical challenge in his
dealings with the Tea Party-backed freshman class, observes Politico's Jake
Sherman. It will be a challenge--but not impossible--for the GOP's
"true legislators and compromisers, like Boehner himself, who will
actually have to make the difficult deals that keep the House relevant"
to strike a viable working relationship in the months and years to come
with a "rookie class ready to turn Washington on its head," to say
nothing of already-sitting "conservative media darlings" like Rep.
Michele Bachmann who are "largely uninterested in compromise but are
able to drive the Republican conversation with incendiary,
cable-friendly sound bites."
- The Money Gap Closed Arguably
Boehner's greatest appeal to members of his own party, observes The New
York Times' Michael
Luo, is his fundraising prowess. During this election cycle Boehner
has demonstrated a "mushrooming ability to command big checks,"
including $1.9 million in donations to his fundraising committee in the
past three months alone. "About half of the 29 PACs that gave to Boehner
for Speaker did not contribute to him or his leadership PAC during the
2008 election cycle," writes Luo, "a telling sign of the newfound
interest in Mr. Boehner’s power." Boehner in turn, has spread the wealth
around, transferring funds to other GOP campaigns in an effort to "spur
members of his caucus."
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