Boehner quits

Wow, I guess Pope Francis really did a number on him yesterday.

Citing the fact that he’s done all he’s set out to do, and that the strain of trying to wrangle an increasingly ridiculous caucus was getting to him, John Boehner announced today that he will resign from Congress at the end of October.


John Boehner, via Wikimedia Commons

John Boehner, via Wikimedia Commons

According to Politico, Boehner had planned to leave in 2014, but stuck around after Eric Cantor lost his seat in a primary challenge. Someone had to hold the ship together. In a statement, one of his aides said that “The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.”

But before we start dancing on Boehner’s grave, it’s worth noting that whomever replaces him is likely to be worse. The Republican Party has come to hate hate haaaaaate John Boehner for not repealing Obamacare, demolishing Planned Parenthood, ending the EPA, impeaching Obama or delivering on any of the other false promises they’ve made to themselves as to what’s possible with a divided Senate and Democratic president.

For example, check out the reaction Marco Rubio got at the Values Voter Summit earlier today when he told the crowd Boehner was resigning:

So it will almost certainly take a more conservative speaker to appease the Republican base. At first glance, the likeliest successors are Kevin McCarthy and Jeb Hensarling (Paul Ryan quickly ruled out a bid for speaker) — both of whom are, well, bad.

What’s more, that the House’s more insane members made life difficult enough for Boehner that he quit shows them how much power they wield within the party, making it harder for the next speaker to deal with them. That could force the caucus farther to the right than it already is, making legislation even more impossible and having ripple effects in the presidential race, as Republican presidential candidates will be campaigning against the backdrop of even more unhinged representation in Congress.

One silver lining: Now that Boehner doesn’t have to worry about being ousted as speaker in a conservative revolt, he can push through a budget that funds Planned Parenthood, avoiding a government shutdown that was looking increasingly likely.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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19 Responses to “Boehner quits”

  1. Indigo says:

    Yeah . . . that’s my concern. All too often during this past decade, the light at the end of the tunnel has been an on-coming train.

  2. benb says:

    I wonder if Boehner’s getting off ’cause he sees a train wreck coming.

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  5. Demosthenes says:

    Today: speaker. Tomorrow drunk, womanizing, lobbyist troll.

    Oh, wait . . .

  6. BeccaM says:

    It’s a wonder Gohmert can remember how to breathe.

  7. The_Fixer says:

    I don’t know if I would cry if I ran out of Bushmills, but it would be harder to take these Republican idiots without a little bottled happiness, that’s for sure.

  8. 2karmanot says:

    Compassion is probably wasted on Republicans. The Pope thing must have unhinged me momentarily.

  9. 2karmanot says:

    Well, most likely true. I know I would cry if my Jack Daniels ran out or my fav Pinot was unavailable.

  10. 2karmanot says:

    exactly my thought

  11. 2karmanot says:

    Maybe it’s time for Loui Gohmert to have his turn in the headlights.

  12. The_Fixer says:

    I don’t kow about the pope having a profound effect on him – he sobs at the drop of a hat.

    But I hear that the sobbing is uncontrollable when he runs out of booze. Seriously, one cannot intake as much alcohol as he is reported to enjoy and not be affected in some way.

    Now he can drink at home and reflect on his career, tobacco checks and all.

  13. hauksdottir says:

    Morally conflicted? I remember him buying votes ON THE FLOOR with a pocket full of $5000 checks from Big Tobacco. The worst part is that members were willing to change their vote to get that sweet, sweet money.

  14. BeccaM says:

    That’s my feeling, too.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    His own party made him the most ineffectual Speaker in generations. Can’t say I’m sorry to see him go, but I’m also dreading what they’re going to offer up next.

  16. BeccaM says:

    Actually, one of the analyses I saw suggested it was Boehner’s resistance to doing a full-on government shut-down over Planned Parenthood funding. His support within his party has been abysmal for a long time, and this was the proverbial straw. Or to switch metaphors, the sharks smelled the blood in the water and there’s been talk about an open revolt and a highly unusual move to depose him as Speaker now, rather than opting not to vote him back in.

    BTW, word is that Rep. Steve “David Duke w/out the Baggage” Scalise is planning to take a run at the Speakership. Which suggests to me anyway that what we’re seeing here the growing chasm-fracture between mainline (but far right) Republicans and the “no compromises ever, burn it all down” (openly fascist-radical) Tea Baggers.

  17. MoonDragon says:

    Don’t count Louie (Terrorist Anchor Babies) Ghomert out.

  18. 2karmanot says:

    “It’s time to turn the page” and destroy democracy once and for all. As for Boehner, I think the Pope’s visit had a very profound effect on him. I saw him cry at several moments. It could be that this man was morally conflicted by the fascists in his party, has finally had a day of reckoning and resigned.

  19. Jimmy says:

    I can only imagine was sort of crazy will replace him.

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