Whether it's being unable to win votes his party proposes, or deliver promised spending cuts, or focus on that priority he said was his priority, or get the messaging right on jobs, new Republican House Speaker John Boehner has had a tough go of it so far.
Last night on the show, Rachel Maddow floated a theory:
Being the speaker of the House is constitutional position. You are third in line to the presidency, and you have constitutional responsibility to conduct the business of the House. You have a lot of very sober responsibilities.In real terms, though, day to day, you function as leader of your party in Congress. And for the Republicans this year, Mr. Boehner is the only constitutional officer of any rank who is a Republican. John Boehner is the Republican Party's guy in Washington.And when you look at the evidence, regardless of what you think about the Republicans' agenda, whether you are for it or against it, I think John Boehner is bad at his job.
WaPo blogger Ezra Klein suggested that Mr. Boehner is having trouble reining in his own members and also struggling with the practical effects of running a more open House -- that you get more amendments offered and the process slows down. That becomes a bigger problem if the House slows down so much that it can't pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded. "So, we shut down the government and more to the point going forward, if we lose a lot of those jobs, it's going to have a real economic impact," he says. "It drains demand out of it. It puts people out of work."