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Thursday, June 1, 2023


Boehner’s resignation says a lot about the Republican Party

John Boehner

Boehner was to retire back in 2014, but stayed on because of the loss of Eric Cantor | Courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Speaker John Boehner announced Friday he would relinquish his gavel and resign from Congress undone by the very Republicans who swept him into power.

“This morning, I woke up and I said my prayers and I decided today’s the day I’m going to this. This isn’t about me; it’s about the people, it’s about the institution,” said Boehner.

This resignation should not come as a big surprise for the members in Congress, but it is doubtful of how the GOP can unite going forward into a presidential campaign.

According to USA Today, unhappy conservatives under Boehner’s management have been plotting his overthrow since the 2010 midterm election when their numbers increased to the largest majority since the ’20s. They saw no progress on priorities such as overturning Obamacare, getting tough on illegal immigration and defunding Planned Parenthood.

“The time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, who also criticized the political class.

This has undoubtedly intensified the divide that has encouraged hard-right lawmakers and insurgent presidential candidates, leaving a party that prides itself on orderly process in uncharacteristic dismay.

It’s impressive how Boehner had stayed in the position he was serving in the House since 1991. It has been increasingly tense in the U.S. House, and he has disappointed with his leadership and decisions.

With Boehner’s decision to retreat and the right wing claiming victory over his dismissal, some Republicans seem to think the Planned Parenthood fight is already over. They might approve a budget extension bill this month in order to concentrate on the approaching leadership fight.

This would be the height of hypocrisy since far-right Republicans have been consistent with the idea that defunding Planned Parenthood is a matter of life and death.

There are signs of more mainstream conservatives pushing back, because the tactics demonstrated by hard-liners have accomplished nothing except the early departure of  Boehner.

“God knows what’s next over there,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi said Boehner’s resignation was “a stark indication of the disarray of House Republicans.”

The departure of Boehner will make the Republican Party another step closer conceding any efforts to meaningfully govern making it, as Peter King (R-NY) said “a victory for the crazies.”

Boehner was hardly a Republican leader who was manipulated by Democrats in Congress or in the White House. Rather, he was a conservative who made compromises so the country could keep running.

This is also known as governance, but it seems obvious that today’s Republican Party seems increasingly uninterested in that.

There will be a new House speaker long before the party settles on a presidential nominee. The nomination battle has twists and turns ahead that will surprise and confuse a large part of the public.

Realistically, the Republicans in their current state appear both difficult to lead and divided about where they want to go. To win in November 2016, their nominee will have to show she or he is prepared to lead a party and willing to govern.

Boehner, far from a moderate in any normal sense of the word, departs as a figure thrown out by party extremists.

Opinion columnist Rebekah Barquero is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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