Jonathan Chait writes about Ted Cruz's campaign urging the House Republican caucus to force a government shutdown if the Senate and president won't agree to an Obamacare delay. Crazy House Republicans are on board, and are making Boehner's life miserable -- but, of course, there's this:
Now, the Cruz House bloc can't exactly force Boehner's hand here. They can simply force him to pass a bill to keep the government open with Democratic votes. That, of course, would be another win for Cruz -- conservatives would be furious at Boehner’s betrayal and looking to potentially depose him:
If Boehner breaks the Hastert rule on CR, there will be a revolt by the usual suspects. Cruz is helping to grow that group's numbers...— Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO) September 27, 2013
You know what? I'm sick of hearing that this is such a painful process for Boehner. I'm sick of being told that I should feel some sympathy for the guy because he's just trying to keep his job.
I'm 54 years old. If I lose my job, I lose my job. I have no income. (Yes, I can do freelance work in my field, but that pays much less and comes with no benefits.) Because I'm in my fifties, and nobody in America is hiring people in their fifties, if I lose my job I'll probably never have a good job again. And that's true of pretty much every American my age.
John Boehner? Why does his desire to cling to his speakership supersede the needs of the country? If he genuinely thinks the crazy caucus is leading the country to a cataclysm, why shouldn't he sacrifice his damn speakership and do what's patriotic, suspending the Hastert "rule" (which is just self-imposed and isn't a rule at all) and getting a continuing resolution and debt ceiling increase passed with Democratic and sane Republican votes? What does he lose if he's deposed, besides power -- which, as is obvious by now, is not something he has much of?
If I'm let go in a wave of "belt-tightening" or "restructuring," I'm unemployed. If Boehner's deposed, he can keep his seat in Congress. And if he retires in disgrace, so what? The world of corporate boards and lobbying and fees per speech that would be a nice annual salary for a normal person will open up to him. Plus, as a congressman with a 22-year career, he'll have a lovely pension and health insurance and retirement account. Hell, he's 63 -- he can start collecting Social Security.
Sorry, but there's something pathological about the craven, desperate way that members of Congress -- people with so many options -- cling to their seats. The rest of us are regularly told that we simply can't expect to hold the same job for life -- the real world just doesn't work that way anymore. Our elected officials just don't live in our world.