While the Pope of Rome was busy stealing the spotlight, there was some real honest to God news broken over the weekend. Rather than dealing with another round of how stupid can Republican members of Congress make themselves look, the Speaker of the House is opting to resign from Congress and give up the office that stands him second in line to the presidency.
Speaker Boehner has taken massive amounts of criticism from the Tea Party wing for not being conservative enough – as if the Republican Party should have some kind of purity test for membership. Given my oddball 1960’s brand of conservativism that is currently out of favor, I’ve always given the speaker the lion’s share of the credit for managing to hold together a majority that gets anything at all accomplished.
As he edges towards the door, there was a nugget from his interview this morning with CBS Face the Nation that, more than anything else, tells me that John Boehner gets it – perhaps more clearly than any of his contemporaries. While musing on his accomplishments as Speaker despite the active resistance of the most conservative members of the Republican caucus, he offered this, “You know this is the part that I really don’t understand…Our founders didn’t want some parliamentary system where if you won the majority you got to do whatever you wanted to do. They wanted this long, slow press. So change comes slowly, and obviously too slowly for some.”
I worry that the next crop of candidates for the top job in the House won’t be so circumspect and will jam through an inevitably crackpot agenda no matter what long term costs might come.