Friday, October 2, 2015

Reflections on Boehner's sin and the ascendancy of the crazies

Leonard Pitts Jr. (Miami Herald) reflects on the forces that drove Boehner out and the immature, tantrum-throwing crazies who are left. Snippets follow.

... it might be instructive to remind ourselves of the nature of Boehner’s supposed apostasy He was, after all, aligned with his persecutors on pretty much every issue of substance. The Affordable Care Act? Guns? The debt ceiling? There was not a scintilla of daylight between him and them.

But what we’ve learned since the tea party came to town is that being right — as in right wing — is no longer enough. Now you must be so unyielding in your rightness that you’d rather damage the country than seek common ground with the other side. To do so is to risk being tarred, as Boehner was, as spineless and weak.

In the end, then, his sin was that he was a pragmatist; he understood, as Ronald Reagan did, as Bill Clinton did, as every successful leader in a democratic system must, that politics is the art of compromise. His sin is that he was a grownup in a Congress of tea party children who made a calculated decision to render that body inert and ungovernable rather than yield, even in the face of inevitable discredit and defeat.

Republican Rep. Peter King probably put it best when he said of Boehner’s resignation: "I think it signals that crazies have taken over the party."

... Governance in a democracy requires give and take between at least two political parties. More and more, we seem to find ourselves one party short, the GOP choosing instead to function as a cult or belief system.

Boehner’s departure does not help. It only removes one more adult from the equation in a party that doesn’t have any to spare.

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