When John Boehner stood before the House, which had just elected him speaker of the 113th Congress, his voice cracked with emotion.
Crying, of course, is Boehner’s trademark — the Fix, a crier himself, admires the Ohio Republican’s willingness to wear his heart on his sleeve — but these tears on Thursday were particularly apt.
Sure, Boehner was moved by the moment. (He is only the 53rd person to hold the job.) But his tears could just have easily reflected his tremendously challenging first two years as speaker and the political perils that await him in the next two.
Boehner’s week epitomized these challenges. He found himself on the outside looking in during the final negotiations — and credit-taking — on the “fiscal cliff” deal. He was pilloried by Northeastern lawmakers, including Republican Reps. Mike Grimm (N.Y.) and Peter King (N.Y.), for refusing to bring up legislation to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy. He narrowly avoided an embarrassing second-ballot vote in his bid for another term as speaker, a fate that had not befallen any speaker since 1923.
Yes, Boehner did win the speakership again. But his power to wrangle his Republican colleagues to support his priorities appears to be at an all-time low, and there is already speculation about when he might decide that enough is enough and step down.
John Boehner, for getting rehired to an impossible job, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.