I don't know whether this new sobriety on the part of the House GOP caucus is due to conviction, or fear:
Since all the Republicans will really control after January is the House of Representatives, much of what Boehner and Cantor have had to say has involved changes internal to the House. The new House will, for instance, systematically review federal regulations that depress job creation. It will also require that before bills reach the floor their sponsors articulate what constitutional authority justifies the action they propose and why it is an action better taken at the federal than the state or local level. Boehner and Cantor, moreover, have promised to bring back the practice of rescission bills, which take back spending that has been appropriated but not yet spent; to ban earmarks; to build the House schedule around committee hearings rather than floor votes; and to do away with silly votes to commemorate local events or declare national popcorn month.
...and I don't really care, either. And I suspect that neither do any of you: just as long as it gets done. As Yuval Levin notes, the above represents a symbolic first step - obviously, there's a whole list of things that we need to do, which IS going to be painful; see Ace of Spades for a very clear-headed assessment of just how painful those things are likely to be* - but as Levin also notes, symbols matter.
And elections have consequences.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*I can't emphasize this enough: you think that the Republican Party is unpopular now? Just wait until we actually start following through on our promises. This isn't going to be fixed quickly, or easily; otherwise the Democrats would have done it already. This is going to be painful, torturous, and people are going to be infuriated at the party at the end. If you're not prepared for that, get prepared.
I'll also note this: grandstanding is not going to be a welcome addition to our political repertoire. We want serious-minded people only in charge of this rodeo.