REPUBLICANS ELECT JOHN BOEHNER AS HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER
Really, who cares? Why is this a huge story?
Here's what matters: The same brand of Republicanism that's dominated American political life since forever will continue in Washington without interruption. Ideologically, Boehner is indistinguishable from every other "mainstream" (i.e., far-right) Republican -- for a sense of this, see this list of Boehner positions on religious-right hot-button issues. (Thanks to Atrios for the link.) The New York Times adds, utterly unsurprisingly,
Although he has worked across the aisle on issues like education, Mr. Boehner is unlikely to take House Republicans in a notably different direction than his predecessors when it comes to the big issues facing Congress this year, like tax cuts, spending restraint and the war in Iraq. He is likely to be as much of an ally to Mr. Bush as Mr. Blunt would have been, even if he is not as personally close to White House officials.
It's always like this. When Frist replaced Lott, in what significant way did American politics change? I'd even say that about the transition from Gingrich to Hastert -- sure, Hastert gave us less chest-thumping egomania, but was the GOP's march to domination impeded in any significant way? Did any of the issues change? Was there even any real change in the GOP's techniques and methods?
I don't understand why we care about Republican leadership changes. It's like the old Automat, folks: You remove a piece of pie and an essentially identical piece of pie appears in its place.
Don't even tell me that this is an attempt by the Republicans to climb out of the sewer of corruption. Here's The Washington Post today:
[Boehner] penned a 37-page manifesto calling for a new Republican direction and highlighted his career-long opposition to special-interest pork projects in the federal budget.
He struck a more cautious note in private, assuring Republicans that he would not overreact to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and eviscerate the lax travel and spending rules they had come to enjoy. As the candidate himself realized, Boehner as the reform candidate was not an easy sell. His beach parties for rich donors were notorious, as were the stories of how he handed out checks from tobacco executives on the House floor a decade ago.
"Yes, I am cozy with lobbyists," he told lawmakers concerned about his K Street connections, "but I have never done anything unethical."
It's just more phony "page-turning" from a party that won't ever really "turn the page" until it's forcibly deprived of power.