Who is having the worst new year so far, Tony Romo or John Boehner? For the second straight year, the snake-bitten Cowboys quarterback went into the season's final Sunday with a chance to win the division and blew it. And while he had a patchwork defense and a crew of second- and third-string receivers as his supporting cast, he is the focus of fan anger. Meanwhile, House Speaker Boehner, the leader of the nation's Republican team, can already lay claim to an annus horribilis, and January is only three days old.
First, late last year, the speaker couldn't get his caucus to even vote on a watered-down revenue package that would have exempted about 99 percent of all taxpayers from higher rates. When the vote came on the eve of the new year, the caucus almost revolted again but passed the measure in a very split decision. But the worst was yet to come.
Like Romo who thought he could loft a pass safely over the linebacker, Boehner thought it would be safer to postpone a vote on Sandy aid, not wanting to force his exhausted team to vote on a new spending package on the heels of their votes to raise taxes. But he failed to anticipate the full fury of Chris Christie looming. And the New Jersey governor made the speaker pay all right, delivering a vicious political hit.
The Sandy fiasco was patched over; there will be a stopgap passed Friday, and the full aid package will be passed by mid-January. But the message was sent to the most populous and fundraising-rich region of the country with echoes of the famous headline when President Ford opposed federal aid for New York City: "Boehner to NY/NJ: Drop Dead." New York doesn't forget, and New Jersey doesn't forgive.
As a lifelong Redskins fan and partisan Democrat, I feel sorry for both Romo and Boehner. They are trying to do the right things and being blamed for the mistakes and actions of others. My new year's wish for both of them is, "Hang in there; it can only get better."