I actually feel sorry for John Boehner. He presides over a Caucus that isn’t simply stubborn or contentious–thanks to its most ideological members, it is simply ungovernable. These members are unwilling to move an inch for the good of the country or even their own party. It’s stunning.
What I don’t get is the fanatical refusal to raise taxes even a small amount for even a few of the very richest Americans. Boehner’s “Plan B”–which crashed and burned thanks to that refusal–allowed the Bush tax cuts to expire only for those making more than a million dollars a year. Protecting those few Americans from a slight raise in the marginal rate was evidently so important to the Tea Party fanatics that they were willing to knock the props from under their own party’s leader and reinforce a growing public perception that the GOP has become far too extreme. (A recent poll found that 52% of Americans hold that view of the party–and that was before this latest embarrassment.)
Presumably, Boehner’s inability to get what he wanted from his caucus will strengthen the President’s hand as the fiscal “cliff” nears, although it’s increasingly difficult to predict anything in the Never Never Land that is Washington, D.C. The only thing that seems certain is that we’ve elected a lot of people who haven’t the faintest idea what governing is all about.
If I could explain why they are willing to go down with the ship rather than raise taxes on anyone, I’d be delighted to share that explanation in this space, but I can’t. I’m baffled.