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Will John Boehner Lay Down The Gavel?

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The weather is pretty awful everywhere it snows, except Sochi.  Perhaps the blanketing will cool tempers inside the Beltway, where another collapse of House GOP “strategy” combined with (1) the blowback on the cuts to the career military retirement benefits, (2) another set of numbers on Obamacare screaming “FAIL” and (3) another set of unilateral changes to the health insurance law to leave everyone on edge or under the bus.

The GOP needs to do all it can and quickly to get the focus back on Obamacare’s many failures and even more unanswered questions.  The House GOP’s dysfunction only squanders opportunities, it doesn’t ruin lives as Obamacare is doing by severing patients from doctors and sharply raising costs while modeling an exercise in extra-constitutional unilateralism by the president.  Where’s Arthur Schlesinger when you finally need him?

What the House GOP needs is discussed at length here.  Short version: A new strategy and new leadership.

Speaker John Boehner would be acting selflessly if he announced his intention of passing the gavel before the summer recess to whomever the GOP Conference selects.  Such a move would allow for one of those famous D.C. “resets,” but whether it is Majority Leader Eric Cantor who replaces him or Jeb Hensarling or Tom Price, the change-over would allow a refocused and –crucially– energized House GOP to campaign with a new plan and a new face heading into the fall elections.

The Speaker is obviously a good man with a great heart, but rallying the GOP inside and outside of the House requires energy and vision as well as a command of the new tools of communication and a willingness to use them.

The Speaker cannot be forced out.  There won’t be a coup.  He has the loyalty of long-serving friends and a good machine for everything except vote counts, and he has worked prodigiously to raise money for members across the country.  He has lots and lots of hard-earned IOUs out across the country.  No, if he retires from the Speaker’s chair it will be because he thought it was best.

There won’t be a revolution.  But a graceful announcement and exit would serve the country he loves and the party that has helped him to achieve remarkable things for the “son of a barkeep.”


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