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Nov
19

Learning From History

A lot of conservatives are having the vapors over perceived concessions from House Speaker John Boehner.  Logical Lady Salena Zito thinks that a different game is afoot.

In politics, the minute you win is also the moment you start losing, because you immediately start bleeding political capital — and the minute you lose is the beginning of climbing out from the bottom of the barrel.

John Boehner didn’t awake one morning to find himself speaker of the House; he got there through a series of tough setbacks that took him from leadership at a young age to being just one of 435 congressmen and back again, with plenty of declarations that his career had fizzled.

His fellow Republicans understand that, too — which is why, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor nominated him last week to retain his speakership, Boehner was greeted with a warm standing ovation. He will be formally re-elected speaker by a vote in the House when the 113th Congress convenes in January.

Many reporters, hung-over conservatives and the “Twitterverse” have questioned why Boehner called on President Obama to step up with a solution to the nation’s pending “fiscal cliff,” rather than taking the lead himself.

What they do not understand is that, for Boehner, it was the only way back to a position of power for his party.

He may be taking his cues from a legendary predecessor — Tip O’Neill.

Knowing that most of the Presidents proposals in the last 4 years have died in the Senate, calling for the President to submit his solution puts the Democrats on Capital Hill in the spotlight.  Because it will be expected that they will carry their party leaders proposals.  And when they don't.....

She gives the background for those under 40 who don't remember the Reagan years.

Republicans emerged from the 1980 presidential election with substantial gains; they held the White House, seized control of the Senate and gained a staggering 33 seats in the House, although that chamber remained controlled by Democrats, with O’Neill as its new speaker.

Most headlines of the day described Democrats in the bleakest of terms, not much different from today’s headlines about Republicans.

O’Neill understood those bruising losses marked the beginning of a comeback, at least in the House. And he knew the best thing was to allow President Reagan to take the lead on the economy and taxes.

Two years later, after taking all of the risks, Reagan also took all of the political hits; Democrats picked up 27 House seats in midterm elections, leaving the GOP with the fewest seats it has held between 1980 and today.

Reagan had no choice but to bargain with Democrats.

There are two potentially fatal assumptions here.  The first is that the media, who has bent over backwards to carry water for the Obama Administration will actually report on the negotiations in a manner consistent with they way the reported on them during the Reagan Administration.  That is not likely to happen.  The second is that President Obama will pull a Reagan and bargain with Boehner.  There is no one on Capital Hill that President Obama despises MORE than he despises John Boehner.  Compromise will not be in the cards.

But the bottom line remains....

Boehner would keep losing if he believed he had just won simply because he holds a House majority. So if he wants to lead, he has to step back and allow Obama to lose his lead.

That’s why a walk through the halls of Capitol Hill found a growing number of House members, in leadership and on the bench, as well as senators more than willing to back up the speaker on his call for the president to “bring it on” when it comes to offering up some substantial solutions.

One of those is Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

“Boehner is right,” he said in an interview with the Trib. “The president keeps reminding us he just won an election. It’s time for the president to start talking about what he has to offer and put something on the table.”

Emphasis mine.  Time for President Obama and the Democrats to put up or shut up.  They won so let's see what you want to do to fix the mess you created.

This is going to be interesting to watch.

Written by LL.

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