It has been three months since Republicans took control of the House and John Boehner achieved the coveted status of Speaker of the House. During his short tenure, Boehner has presided over a divided House that includes Democrats, Republicans, and the new Tea Party representatives who are bent on imposing their extremist positions on everything from the health care law to the Christian take-over of the government. Boehner is finding that the new teabag caucus is more extreme and hard to handle than the opposition Democratic caucus, and the recent budget agreement has exposed a rift between main stream Republicans and the far-right extremists in the tea party.
During the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans pandered to the extremist teabags and their enthusiasm for repealing the Affordable Health Care Act (H.R. 3962) as well as their racist-inspired hatred of President Obama. Republicans were certain that once they controlled the Congress, Boehner would have little problem reining in the extremist teabag caucus but he was sadly mistaken. After the budget deal Boehner, President Obama, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid hammered out in the eleventh hour, the teabag caucus went wild with rage that Boehner compromised on the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. Barely a day after Boehner brokered the deal, teabag leaders like Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rand Paul (R-KY) lashed out at Boehner for not shutting down the government because of funding for Planned Parenthood. On the social media outlet Twitter, there were calls for Republicans to primary Boehner for not submitting to the will of teabags who insisted the new health law and Planned Parenthood had to be defunded.
Speaker Boehner is learning that when you make a deal with the devil, you either acquiesce to his demands or face the consequences. Boehner is facing the consequences now, and the teabags are promising to challenge him in the primaries next year. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots said of Boehner and Republicans; “You’re going to see massive amounts of (GOP) primaries in next year’s election. If the Ohio Republican strikes a budget deal that doesn’t cut spending enough,” Meckler said Wednesday, “he is going to face a primary challenge.”
Boehner, like many Americans, is learning that if the upstart extremist group doesn’t get its way in controlling the government they will revolt and take out opposing views one way or another. The teabaggers have learned their lesson from Republicans who over the past two years have obstructed the Democratic majority’s legislative agenda because President Obama did not follow Republicans’ directives on everything from health care reform to financial regulation reform.
Although spending cuts were a major thorn in teabaggers’ sides, it was defunding Planned Parenthood that turns out to be the issue that enraged Michele Bachmann and others seeking to ban abortions and deny cancer screening to over 3 million low-income women. Bachmann, the fact-challenged liar and teabagger darling called the budget deal a disappointment because it didn’t slash enough from the budget. More to the point, Bachmann said, “Millions of Americans expected $100 billion in cuts and wanted to make sure their tax dollars stopped flowing to the nation’s largest abortion provider, and who wanted us to defund ObamaCare. Instead, we’ve been asked to settle for $39 billion in cuts, even as we continue to fund Planned Parenthood and the implementation of ObamaCare.”
Bachmann demonstrates a lack of understanding of the legislative process. In America, the party in the majority passes legislation, the president signs the bill and it becomes law. Bachmann, many Republicans, and teabaggers however, believe their job is repealing or defunding laws that were passed according to the Constitution. Just last week, Republicans in the House attempted to rewrite the Constitution’s legislative process by claiming that if the House passes legislation, the Senate has a limited time frame to go along; if they refuse, the measure automatically becomes law. In an attempt to subvert the Constitution, Republicans and teabags are trying to adopt a “deem and pass” law that effectively eliminates the legislative process the Founding Fathers devised over two-hundred years ago. The Affordable Health Care Act was passed legally, but Republicans, and especially teabaggers, are bent on blocking implementation by either defunding the law or outright repealing it.
Boehner is learning what many Americans were concerned about when the tea party was gaining momentum over the past two years. Extremists groups are not good for the country at all, much less if they gain power and begin earning seats in Congress. In January, a CNN/Opinion Research Poll showed the two-year-old anti-tax movement has a 47% disapproval rating for its extremist views and desire to shut down the government. The good news for Boehner is that the teabags only have a year and nine months left to push their extremist agenda on America. The bad news is that after only three months, teabaggers are calling for Boehner and Republicans to be primary-challenged in the 2012 elections for not following their fanatical agenda. Some politicos opine that Eric Cantor is using the tea party caucus to undermine Speaker Boehner; there is merit to that sentiment.
On some level, Boehner’s problems with the teabags are good for Democrats and President Obama who look reasonable and willing to work for the good of the country and not a special interest group. The events in Wisconsin should be a warning to Republicans and the tea party, but they aren’t intelligent enough to understand the American people will only tolerate so much abuse before they rise up and put a stop to the madness. Republicans and teabaggers miscalculated the resolve of Democrats and the president when they attempted to defund Planned Parenthood and the EPA. The Draconian spending cuts were bad enough, but as is usually the case, fanatics have to go to the extreme and force their radical agenda on the rest of the country.
John Boehner and the rest of the Republicans coveted power and sold their souls to the devil to gain a majority in the House. In the bargain, they got a dangerous group that advocated a government shutdown unless Democrats agreed to punish women by defunding Planned Parenthood. It was a devilish scheme that backfired on Republicans and may cost them and tea party candidates in the next election. Boehner may as well enjoy his tenure as Speaker while it lasts because if teabags have their way, he and Republicans will suffer in 2012.
Americans are fair and gave Republicans an opportunity to work with the President to get the economy moving and create jobs. Unfortunately for Republicans, they underestimated the level of inexperience and extremism teabags brought to the table. Boehner may have believed he could control the tea party caucus and use them to push forward a Republican agenda, but instead he got a group that is intent on bringing the government to its knees if they don’t get their way. Now that they haven’t got their way, they are looking to bring Boehner to his knees in next year’s primaries. John Boehner is supposed to be a deeply religious man so he should have known that when he sold his soul to the Devil, he either had to follow directions or pay the price. After three months, teabags are planning on making him pay, and it couldn’t happen to a better Republican.