This is possibly the most encouraging political news of the year.…if Boehner feels liberated to flee the House, then suddenly all sorts of governing possibilities open up. He can lift the debt ceiling and keep the government running. He could sign immigration reform, even cut a deal on the budget.
But before anyone starts breaking out the spray tan, the NOW Panel finds the odds of John Boehner saving America pretty slim. The article itself only points to outside operatives claiming that the “working assumption” people are making is that he will step down following the midterms. Some of the speculation is even more baseless. Says one operative, “He likes to golf, he likes to travel. You have limited time left once you get close to 70.” Boehner’s office, for its part, continues to maintain that the Speaker has no plan to step down.
Even if Boehner plans on giving up his Speakership, he shows no signs of changing his political calculations. The Senate immigration bill likely has majority support in the House, but Boehner has so far refused to bring it to the House Floor—citing the so-called Hastert rule, which requires that all bills have majority support of the majority party in the House. (Nevermind that Boehner, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Hastert himself have all violated the rule multiple times.) And, as Boehner’s staff points out, he is still Speaker of the House. That means Republicans rely on him to raise money for them. According to Boehner’s office, he raised $30 million through June for colleagues.
Perhaps Boehner could be biding his time, until he teams up with House Democrats to pass liberal priorities like immigration reform. More likely though, he is just doing what he always does: doing his best to maintain control of a radical and irrational House conference.