John Boehner Is Letting the Inmates Run the Asylum

It is time for Speaker Boehner to cut the Tea Party loose and compromise with Democrats and moderate Republicans.

By SHARE

Things are going from bad to worse for Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans.

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the speaker over the last two years since all his Tea Party freshmen hit town. The good news for him was that he was elected speaker; the bad news was who elected him!

[Check out 2011: The Year in Cartoons.]

And it is not helpful that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to want his job and is coddling the conservatives in the caucus.

For Speaker Boehner this is like herding feral cats that are getting increasingly wild.

The House rejection Tuesday of the bill overwhelming agreed upon in the Senate (89-10) to enact a compromise on the extension of the middle class tax cuts and unemployment payments was a shock—maybe even to Boehner when his caucus revolted over the weekend.

[Read the U.S. News debate: Should the payroll tax cuts be extended?]

Anyone who is watching the inmates take over the asylum that is becoming the Republican caucus has got to fear for the country—and the Republican party.

If the House Republicans are responsible for raising taxes this year on the middle class, taking $1,500 out of their pockets as a little Christmas present, they will send the very clear message that they do the bidding of the millionaires and billionaires but put coal in the stocking of working families.

And as America's businessmen and woman understand, the best prescription for growth, hiring, and greater profits, is a middle class that is well-off enough to buy their products. Starving middle class families does not exactly help their bottom line.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

In addition, Republicans cannot make the argument that they are so concerned about the deficit that they want to shackle the middle class but let the wealthiest of Americans continue to get hundred of thousands of dollars in tax breaks that "are not paid for!"

The speaker understands that effectively raising taxes now on middle class families, while continuing huge tax cuts for the richest Americans, simply will not wash.

Such a decision is kryptonite in a political year such as this one.

[Read the U.S. News debate: Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share in Taxes?]

Hiding behind a conference committee or talking about a year extension is simply hogwash—the Tea Party House members want to kill it, pure and simple.

Speaker Boehner is in real trouble on this one and he knows it; he is better off to cut the crazies loose in his own party, make a deal with Democrats and reasonable Republicans, and move on. It is the right thing to do for the country to prevent a double dip recession and the right thing to do politically. If Cantor tries to dethrone him, so be it, he did the right thing. But, right now, he is getting run over by a right wing caucus out of control.

  • See a collection of political cartoons on the Tea Party.
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  • See a slide show of Mort Zuckerman's 5 Ways to Create More Jobs.