Deborah Wilder: John Boehner’s resignation — a good or bad thing?
I was recently asked what I thought about John Boehner’s announced resignation as Speaker of the House.
Some of the people I spoke with thought a person more ideologically right should take his place and others thought someone more willing to work with the Democrats would be the better choice.
Frankly, the job of Speaker is worse than herding cats. For all the political hype, I think Boehner deserves a vote of thanks. I first met him in 1994, when he was only in his second term of Congress.
He was bright and dedicated to crafting “solutions” not just spouting party line rhetoric. I found that refreshing as governing is about crafting solutions that work.
As Speaker, Boehner has faced a large freshman class of Republican congressmen and women who want bills out of Congress to be “political pure,” meaning that all legislation must agree with them on each and every aspect, thought and solution.
Political principles are important; and they are the core tenants that most elected officials have adopted.
However, there is no one that will agree with you 100 percent of the time.
So, neither the Republican (right) nor the Democratic (left) can govern from either extreme.
When Boehner had to fight his own party to get votes, this impacted his ability to build a bipartisan coalition needed for broader support of the legislation. Governing is about both sides identifying common issues and challenges and then working to craft a solution.
Republicans and Democrats definitely have different perspectives of those solutions, but without a dialogue and some compromise from both sides, no governing will take place. John Boehner knows that. He is a smart guy.
While Congress has passed many bills that have then gone to the Senate, most have languished due to the need to get 60 votes to close debate and get a vote.
While this is not Boehner’s direct responsibility, garnering more Democratic support in the House on many of these bills will help the Democrats in the Senate see the need for bipartisan solutions and secure their vote.
When the House only passes bills along party lines, the bills are almost guaranteed to never get to a vote in the Senate. Boehner has been unable to garner the support of enough individuals from both sides of the aisle to help the Senate get these bills passed.
An ultra-conservative Speaker who only wants to move bills forward which agree 100 percent with his or her personal philosophy is not going to be able to get legislation out of the House that will make it through the Senate.
Governing is not done from the extremes. It is done from a place of principle and recognizing that all voices must be heard, and sometimes, included in a compromise.
Deborah Wilder lives in Grass Valley. She is the chairwoman of the Nevada County Republican Party, but this column is her own personal opinion.
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