What does John Boehner's departure mean for Congress and the Republicans?
Bye bye John Boehner. It seems an upset has erupted in Congress, and it’s not entirely clear whether this is a good thing. While Boehner’s announcement of his resignation as Speaker of the House is sudden, we must understand quickly what this means for Congress and the Republican Party. Something bad could be brewing here.
While John Boehner has not been a friend to progressives, what could follow him makes him seem so. It’s sad how delicately the political landscape has changed, where men like John Boehner are now considered “moderate.” Boehner has been the farthest from moderate, yet it seems that those wanting Boehner out are much more to the right than him.
How did this all start? Well, what has sparked Boehner’s resignation is the upcoming budget vote in October. Republicans in the House want to attach amendments to the budget defunding Planned Parenthood. While Boehner has never been a moderate on issues like Planned Parenthood, he didn’t seem willing to attach the amendments to the budget.
Due to the fact Boehner seemed unwilling to attach Planned Parenthood to the issue of the budget, his fellow Republicans effectively rebelled against him and demanded he either go along or step down. Boehner, confronted by this reality, has chosen to step aside.
The danger of this is not small. Keep in mind, Boehner is no moderate. He presided over the previous government shutdown, and he has been one of the worst opponents of a progressive agenda in Congress. Yet, it seems that Boehner is now being shoved out by a party even more radical than him. Boehner, it seems, was unwilling to shut down the government over defunding Planned Parenthood, which in the current Republican Party is unacceptable.
Not to defend Boehner, but it seems that attaching the Planned Parenthood amendment to budget talks is a losing battle doomed to go nowhere. Much like the previous shutdown over Obamacare, all the episode would do is cause inconvenience, not accomplish the goal, and degrade the popularity of the Republican Party even further. Despite this, the current Republican Party in the House wants to go ahead anyway.
It seems that as Boehner is stepping aside, the new Republican regime in the House will be much more radical and unwilling to perhaps even understand the basic premise of compromise. Not that the Party of the past few years has been willing to compromise, it seems that the new speaker and agenda may be even further unwilling to forge consensus and compromise.
This is how political systems fracture. If John Boehner is a moderate, then what exactly is a radical in Republican ranks? If Republicans are willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood, then how much farther would they be willing to go? Also, this sends a message to future Republican leaders in Congress; push farther right or step aside.
What’s happened now to the Republican Party is in line with something Noam Chomsky once said. He was speaking on the state of the Republican Party and how it’s not even a Party anymore, rather it’s a “radical insurgency.” That has got to be the most accurate description of Republicans today.
Boehner’s resignation as Speaker of the House comes at a time a great friction in America’s political system, and this will not mend it. It seems the Republican Party is going even further right, and there is no telling where and when it will end.