John Boehner National Disgrace

May 28, 2013 by

House Speaker John Boehner, who by title and position should be the second most powerful person in Washington, sure doesn’t seem or sound like it.

He has little ability to work his will with fellow House Republicans. He has quit for good his solo efforts to craft a grand bargain on taxes and spending. And he hasn’t bothered to initiate a substantive conversation with President Barack Obama in this calendar year.

All of this recently prompted Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, herself a former speaker, to declare on MSNBC that if Boehner were a woman, he would be known as the weakest speaker in U.S. history.

So is Boehner weak?

“You’re missing my style, all right?” Boehner told us in an interview. “I don’t need to be out there beating the drum every day. My job as the leader is to build my team, encourage my members, help provide leadership to my members and committee chairs and let the institution work.

“It doesn’t need the heavy hand of the speaker all over everything.”

His style, in short, is not lean in. Or lean on. It’s lean back — and wait.

(PHOTOS: 12 lawmakers who didn’t back John Boehner)

So, yes, Boehner by recent historic standards and measures is a relatively weak speaker right now. But, in fairness, it’s not clear a more bullying or forceful leader would fare much better with this gang of Republicans or in this dysfunctional Congress.

Boehner runs a House in which many of the traditional levers of power are gone and of little use: earmarks for members’ districts, important committee assignments and the backing of party leaders for reelection. Most young conservatives don’t care about any of the three — and, in fact, see all of them as manifestations of what’s wrong with and corrupt about Congress and their party. They get more mileage from snubbing their leaders.

Boehner tested the lead-from-the-top model for more than a year, working with the White House to craft the grand bargain. It was a flop.

“I tried as hard as I could, but the divide was just too far apart, and I could not have tried harder,” Boehner said. “There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, but the president was just never going to go somewhere where I thought was acceptable.”

via Behind the Curtain: John Boehner’s shrinking power –

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