Let me first state the obvious truth: You must govern now. It’s one thing to be the engine of virulent, persistent agitation. Now, you must make laws. I hope you can actually achieve this, considering you’ve had a grand time standing on the sidelines for two years saying no to everything. I applaud the strategy. It delivered you the House of Representatives.
Now, on to other matters. This victory has secured the legacy of the tea party insurgency–for better or for worse. There were countless tea party candidates taking established republican and democratic candidates to the woodshed during primary season, and on election day. Speaker-elect John Boehner now must integrate a wild-eyed bunch of tea party newbies into a coalition of dedicated legislators.
Herein lies the dilemma: these insurgent congressmen don’t seem up for compromise… at all. How will the new speaker manage his crew, work with a democratic president, and get the people’s work done– knowing that behind him is a frothing, ambitious congresswoman from the sixth district of Minnesota garnering power– and threatening to hijack any attempt at centrist governance. Boehner will soon find out the speaker’s chair is a different political animal than his comfy place as minority leader.
Boehner has already stated there will be no compromise with President Obama, but is he speaking for himself or for the tea party insurgents? He’s not speaking for the American public, and because of this his reign as speaker may be a short one.
So John Boehner has his wish–his tears last night burnished that notion. But he should be warned: The wave he rode into the speakership clearly was not because of his stellar work in congress–it was because of voter angst–personified by tea party power. Clearly the personification of tea party power lay with Michele Bachmann, and her newly elected minions. It may just be a matter of time before Boehner’s will is shaped to fit the cudgel she and her supporters wield.
Welcome to the new, more rancorous form of partisanship: The 112 Congress.