Boehner’s choice: his caucus or our country

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Matt Yglesia’s at Slate beat me to something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. “The Easy Solution to John Boehner’s Vote Math Problem” is Democratic votes.

Because of the Hastert Rule, Speaker Boehner and his “leadership” team have humiliated themselves time and again trying to corral their raucous caucus to pass legislation. According to The Post, even his latest scheme to avoid a government shutdown was rejected by just 24 conservative members.

This is no way to govern a nation. And this is certainly no way for a nation as indispensable and “exceptional” as the United States to be governed. The opening sentence of Dan Balz’s spot-on analysis says it all. “Congressional Republicans have become a party of grievances in search of a strategy,” he writes today. As bad as the fight over funding the government is, the battle over raising the legal borrowing limit and protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is infinitely more dire.

Folks, we’re in uncharted waters here. Unlike in 2011, when we all knew the White House and congressional Republicans would eke out an 11th-hour solution to the debt-ceiling crisis, there are no certainties this time. But there is a way to stop this slide to the edge of the abyss. Yglesias is right. Democratic votes can get it done. But it will require Boehner to choose between his caucus and our country. That no one can say with confidence which he’ll choose should frighten the hell out of you.

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