Speaker of the House John Boehner made a rare appearance on the Sunday political show circuit this weekend in a move that my finally signal an acceptance of a reality the rest of us came to terms with some time ago – President Obama is killing Boehner and his fellow House Republicans in the PR game. As I said, Boehner rarely does the dog and pony show that is Sunday morning politics. Frankly, I can’t remember his last appearance. And while the President doesn’t participate in them directly either, he does send his surrogates to represent his policies in his stead.
The interview was taped Friday after Boehner met with the President and Senate leadership. I suppose the fact that the Speaker was willing to give David Gregory an interview immediately after probably is a not-so-subtle response to the president’s press conference wherein he warned the Republican Party that (more or less) anything bad that happens to the US economy in the next six months will fall at their feet – and not his own.
For what it’s worth, I applaud Boehner for stepping out from behind the closed doors of the negotiating room. Truth be told, I wish he would have done it sooner. As I’ve said numerous times, Boehner’s an “institutionalist.” He believes the House of Representatives has a function and a place in government that is served best by “business as usual.” Where he’s been thrown a curve ball is the fact that President Obama and Harry Reid have thrown out all the old rules; and Boehner’s still playing a game that they’ve moved away from.
For some reason totally lost on me, Boehner continues to talk about how “cordial” his meetings are with the president; while the president continues to roast him every chance he gets. I’m not sure what leverage the president actually has over John Boehner, but it certainly appears Boehner’s saying “let’s play nice” while the president’s playing to win. Even now, as the president looks determined to make sequestration his central argument for his party reclaiming the House in 2014, Boehner’s still hesitant to even approach the thought of hammering the president the way he’s been hammering Boehner’s House.