Newt Gingrich compared getting members of Congress to vote your way was like herding cats. They are small, quick, and can scratch. Tonight, John Boehner has a big slash right down his face which will leave a permanent scar on his tenure as speaker.
Americans are already fed up with what they have seen these past three weeks, but this brings it to an entirely new level. It is one thing if politicians can’t decide what to do and are debating the issues, but Congress isn’t fooling anyone by calling this a debate. The more appropriate term might be a pissing contest. When John Boehner can’t get his own plan through the body he is supposed to be leading, it shows the American people we have the wrong people in office.
The members of Congress who consider themselves members of the Tea Party would have been better off voting for Boehner’s plan. They won in part because of a low turnout, but the antics they have put on are irresponsible. No matter what they say on the campaign trail it won’t stop voters from realizing these guys are nuts. If they were serious about staying in office they would realize more people, independents, will be voting in the next election. Not only can they not tell them one good thing that has come about since they took over the House, but they can’t say they have accomplished anything at all.
Because of their ideologically driven agenda, the Tea Party is willing to risk America defaulting on its loans. Once it was announced Congress won’t even be holding a vote tonight, the price of credit default swaps on US treasuries was at its highest point since the 2008 financial crisis. That means people on Wall Street and around the world are losing confidence in Congress (ie America) causing the markets to fall even more. But that’s just in the short term. If a default does happen students loans, mortgage rates, and America’s debt (which, of course, the Tea Party says it wants to lower) will grow exponentially.
Even if Boehner passes what he says is his plan, it won’t matter to the American people. He overplayed his hand, and whether he gets a deal tonight or not, he will become just the second Speaker in history who only served one term.
I’m not going to say Boehner’s job is easy. Getting votes for controversial legislation never is. But, somehow, sixty-two other Speakers have managed to get it done. We’re talking about Sam Rayburn dealing with Dwight Eisenhower, Newt Gingrich dealing with Bill Clinton, and obviously it wasn’t easy for Nancy Pelosi to deal with Blue Dog Democrats when the health care debate was going on. There are always challenges and you have to figure out a way to work around it. Speaker Boehner walked away from that challenge when he told President Obama he was leaving the negotiations they were having.
John Boehner should realize his speakership is over and figure out a way to avoid the possible, ever more likely default. If there was a tie for who had more mud on their face these past couple of weeks, Republicans just fell into the puddle. Their whole body is covered in it, but unfortunately we still have another year of these guys in office.