He is constantly underestimated by the MSM. Hard-right-wingers give him grief. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) continues to defy the odds, keeping the GOP conference together but looking out for the larger interests of the party.

John Boehner House Speaker John Boehner (Brendan Smialowskia/Getty Images)

He did it twice this week. First, he bounced back from the initial defeat of the farm bill. He cajoled his conference into severing the two halves of the bill — farm subsidies and food stamps — so as to take a whack out of the former and open the possibility of reform of the latter. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board put it:

By separating farm and food-stamp policy, the GOP would enhance the chances of improving both. They united to defeat the original bill last month, and this week’s victory is step two.

They also overcame the strange opposition of the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, which lobbied the House to separate the two policies but then said the farm bill wasn’t good enough. The Club and Heritage need a new line of work if they’re going to reject every incremental policy improvement as insufficient.

(The last part is an excellent suggestion, but that is a whole other argument.)

Then with both the MSM and conservative media predicting the end of immigration reform, he went into the lion’s den with his conference and came out with an agreement: The House will proceed with its own series of bills. It might look like baby steps and it might be a far distance to passing any bill, let alone reconciling one with the Senate. But the wheels keep churning. His ability to keep the conference together breathed new life into the immigration reform process.

Meanwhile, he’s ready to stage a series of votes to strike at the heart of Obamacare — first confirming the president’s suspension of the employer mandate and then putting the screws to the Dems in forcing them to defend the individual mandate.

For all those reasons, we can say, well done, Mr. Speaker.