When Republicans scored their big victory in the midterm elections of 2010, they looked like a party on the rise after a devastating pair of losses in 2006 and 2008. Instead, they have become a party in almost permanent disorder, torn by warring factions and near-constant tensions between their establishment leadership and a tea party-infused grass roots.
Now, in the wake of GOP House Speaker John A. Boehner’s stunning announcement Friday that he will step down from his post and resign his seat in Congress at the end of October, the question again arises: Can a party so driven by anger, a party divided over confrontation vs. compromise, actually govern in Washington?
Boehner’s decision to quit, and the suddenness with which the news broke, provided one more piece of evidence of how badly strained the Republican coalition is. His inability to corral his unruly members was legendary and, seemingly, never-ending, a series of “Perils of Pauline” moments that brought temporary truces but never fully resolved the debate about the kind of party Republicans want.
Those divisions have infected the battle for the GOP presidential nomination. Anger at Washington among grass-roots Republicans has turned the party’s nomination contest upside down. In the early autumn of 2015, non-politicians such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are prospering at the expense of those who are governing or have governed at the state level.
Most of us were speechless today when the banner came across the bottom of our TV screens, announcing Speaker Boehner’s resignation. I don’t understand how it all happened or why his resignation will keep the government from shutting down. I just haven’t had time to digest it.
I am pretty sure most of us will miss him. He is a decent man. He tried for compromise. He was enough of an adult to realize that he isn’t always going to get his own way.
Do I blame the Tea Party? Absolutely. Their America is not my America. Once again the choppy stock market shows market jitters over the possibility of a shutdown. I am tired of these people messing with my money and jeopardizing my country over their misguided politics.