The short answer is no, but I have been getting a lot of emails and phone calls into my radio show asking if the GOP should boot Boehner.
No, they shouldn’t. I think John Boehner is more conservative than Eric Cantor, who’d most likely replace him, but Boehner’s leadership has been crap lately. This deal that got us $38.5 billion in cuts, turns out to not only have gotten us $14 billion in cuts, but also raised the baseline on spending. That’s a fancy way of saying it will wind up costing us money to get these cuts and put the Democrats in a better position to begin the 2012 budget fight.
Boehner just seems off his game. He is advised by Barry Jackson, an amiable guy from the Bush Administration whose first major policy fight as Boehner’s Chief of Staff following the untimely death of Paula Nowakowski was to make sure support for traditional marriage got stripped from the GOP’s Pledge to Nowhere or whatever they called it.
It’s been all down hill from there with the coup de grace being Harry Reid thanking Barry Jackson last week for his vital role in getting the compromise done.
John Boehner is convinced that the GOP will lose the PR battle over a government shutdown and, consequently, is scared to death to pick a fight and chance the government shutting down. He is absolutely right that the GOP will lose the PR battle in the media, but that does not mean the GOP should not fight on principle.
Unfortunately for conservatives and House Republicans, Boehner seems to want to play Washington politics as usual and do some buddy-buddy back scratching instead of leading. Having a Bushie advising him compounds the problem.
John Boehner doesn’t need replacing, but he does need recalibrating.