Why did he do it? Why did John Boehner allow a vote on the Diving Off The Fiscal Cliff deal? And then vote for it himself?! There isn’t much reporting on this issue, because few people other than me thought much about Boehner’s upcoming Speaker of the House vote. All I have is speculation.
Those who follow my writings closely will probably know that I have a certain fondness for the Speaker. I’ve even discussed having drinks with him. So I’d like to think that Boehner has simply moved past all the bullshit. One thing is for sure, the pressure is getting to him.
Politico reported this morning of a confrontation between the speaker and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last Friday. Reid had just said on the Senate floor that Boehner was running the House like a dictatorship. Afterwards, when they met in the lobby of the White House, Boehner told Reid, “Go fuck yourself!” Reid was confused and replied, “What are you talking about?” So to be clear, Boehner repeated himself, “Go fuck yourself!”
What does this mean? Is Boehner past all the bullshit of his caucus or all the bullshit he has to do to support his caucus? It’s very hard to say. And maybe it is both. But Boehner has been around a long time. He understands that politics is about horse trading. God knows that when he had the advantage, he pushed it for all it was worth. Now that the Democrats have the advantage, can he really think they are wrong to push their advantage?
My hunch is that this little confrontation came about because Reid hit a nerve. Boehner doesn’t like the idea that he is running the House like a dictatorship. After all, he criticized Nancy Pelosi for exactly this. Yet, he has run the House that way. The truth does indeed hurt.
The fact that Boehner voted for deal tends to indicated that he wanted to see it voted on. This is the paradox of power. But this isn’t the only issue that he faces. Boehner put off a vote on Sandy recovery funds. This has Republican Representative Peter King hoping mad. So it isn’t just the crazy Republicans who are mad at him. Maybe he’s just given up.
Or maybe not. Maybe he knows that he will be re-elected Speaker of the House. The word is that he is still the favorite. Eric Cantor might be preferred by the crazies, but Boehner is likely the only consensus candidate.
I think it is best for the country that Boehner remains Speaker. This is not because I like him in the post. What’s more, after a major defeat, he might become an interesting politician or even an apostate. But I fear what a Cantor (or similar) speakership would look like.
Regardless, Boehner must think that the vote yesterday doesn’t matter to his future plans. And we will soon know what that future is.