The Corner

Boehner Must Be Stepping Down as Speaker

For the past two years, while I’ve sometimes criticized Speaker John Boehner, I may have been, of all unabashedly conservative pundits, the one who has defended him the most often, by repeatedly recognizing just what a difficult political position faces a Speaker of the right in today’s divided government. But yesterday’s adolescent lament from him making fun of colleagues who won’t take up immigration reform was beyond the pale. He gives absolutely no credit to any legitimate motives his colleagues might have — such as, for instance, that they really disagree philosophically and strategically with his whole approach. 

Meanwhile, his determination to keep pressing forward on the issue, despite the obvious political drawbacks of doing so, shows such a political tin ear as to be astonishing.

The only thing I can think of is that he really doesn’t intend to run for reelection as Speaker, so he doesn’t care anymore if he ticks off any of his colleagues, or anybody else for that matter.

I think Boehner is a better man and a better conservative, and for that matter a better Speaker, than his conservatives critics have credited, even if he never has been ideal as Speaker or certainly as a conservative movement leader. But in a career containing several lowlights amidst more accomplishments than are commonly attributed to him, this puerile display yesterday was one of the lowest . . . perhaps ranking nearly as low as the day he passed out PAC checks on the House floor.

What a pity.

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