Washington Ain’t Broke or Why Boehner and Obama Want Stalemate
August 9, 2012
Why would the Speaker of the House of Representatives be satisfied with stalemate? Why would the president of the United States be satisfied with stalemate?
It is fairly simple to think this through. First, the Speaker of the House does not agree with the politics of the “insurgents,” that is, those freshmen legislators who make the most noise and who are generally Tea Partiers. Boehner is not a Tea Partier. Second, by facilitating stalemate, Boehner is trying to preserve his own power by controlling or defeating the “insurgents” in his own party as much as he is trying to defeat Obama, if he is trying to defeat Obama. His seat is secure whereas those with less seniority and especially the freshmen legislators are less secure. He is hoping that stalemate will lead to their defeat, or at least some of them. This might not happen in which case Boehner is a goner.
Obama also favors stalemate, first, in order to control the Republicans and especially the insurgents, because he does not agree with their policies. And, second, he sees stalemate as a way to help secure his re-election, to preserve his power, insofar as he can run against a “do nothing Congress.” And he knows or should know that this is a strategy and a rhetoric that could help Boehner and is in line with Boehner’s own strategy. Hence, if this strategy works, then Boehner and Obama can work together after the election without having their power threatened by forces both within and without their own parties.