Boehner didn’t cave; just tuckered out by radical malcontents



September 26, 2015 - 12:00 AM

My initial reaction to the news of Rep. John Boehner announcing his resignation as speaker of the house was, he caved.
But then, I thought, he’s only human. And after four years, he just doesn’t have the stomach to keep fighting back the mounting tide of ultra-conservatives who have swept into the House of Representatives.
His timing, one day after Pope Francis addressed a joint Congress, is significant.
A devout Catholic, Boehner was ecstatic, not to mention humbled, the Pope had accepted his invitation to address his fellow members of Congress. He openly wept as the Pope delivered a moving, and challenging, address.
Up until now, I’ve never been much of a fan of Mr. Boehner. I especially didn’t care for him inviting Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, to address Congress. It was clearly a slap in the face to President Obama and his efforts to align with the world’s other super powers to enact an Iranian nuclear policy.
But Friday, I felt pity for Rep. Boehner, 65, when ultra-conservatives, including Kansas’ Tim Huels-kamp, R-Fowler, jumped for joy at the news of his decision to step down by the end of October.
For  Tea Party zealots, Boehner’s willingness to compromise on a budget in order to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1 is seen as weak.
Their holdout is funding of Planned Parenthood, a women’s health care organization. The logic to defund Planned Parenthood is caddywhompuss. Eliminating family planning services only creates more unplanned pregnancies, more risky abortions. Their sticking point is that abortions are provided in some clinics operated by Planned Parenthood. That’s true. But what they refuse to acknowledge is that by law, federal funds to Planned Parenthood cannot be used to administer abortions.
So, the funds that go to important services such as birth control, medication to treat sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings will be put at risk all because of the grandstanding tactics by ultraconservatives.
The last time right wing  extremists held up the business of government was in 2013 when they refused to pass a budget over objections to the Affordable Care Act. For 16 days the federal government ground to halt. The result? Just a black eye for Republicans who were viewed as unable to manage their members.
THE PRIMARY business of a leader, whether local or at the high levels of government, is to keep the wheels turning in a forward motion. It requires a big-picture attitude that is not sidetracked by pet — or petty — issues.
Once again, Republicans are being held hostage by malcontents who don’t give a fig for the greater good.

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