Mr. Boehner's political world unlikely to get any easier.
House Speaker John Boehner, we're told
, had some sobering words for his crazy caucus in a conference call last week. His caucus doesn't seem to be taking the message to heart.
Their party lost, badly, Mr. Boehner said, and while Republicans would still control the House and would continue to staunchly oppose tax rate increases as Congress grapples with the impending fiscal battle, they had to avoid the nasty showdowns that marked so much of the last two years. [...]
Even so, some Republicans have issued a stern warning to Mr. Boehner that he cannot expect their votes if he makes a deal with Democrats before seeking their consent.
“What we’ve seen in the past is the speaker goes, negotiates with the president, and just before we vote, he tells us what the deal is and attempts to persuade us to vote for it,” said Representative John Fleming, Republican of Louisiana. “We’re just not very happy with deals being baked, then we’re asked to stay with the team and support the speaker.”
In other words, no compromise no matter what. Given that Boehner continues to insist on no tax hike for the wealthy
, this supposed lecture to his troops about no more hostage-taking seems just a little bit hollow. For all his admonitions to his caucus, there's little indication that anything's changed in his position, or really learned what this loss means for Republicans.
In contrast, here's the lesson the White House learned from all the fruitless negotiations with Boehner, and from this election:
As he prepares to meet with Congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, aides say, Mr. Obama will not simply hunker down there for weeks of closed-door negotiations as he did in mid-2011, when partisan brinkmanship over raising the nation’s debt limitdamaged the economy and his political standing. He will travel beyond the Beltway at times to rally public support for a deficit-cutting accord that mixes tax increases on the wealthy with spending cuts.
He'll go to the public that gave him and the Democratic Senate they elected a mandate on raising taxes on the wealthy, and the people will speak, again. With the new Senate, and the popular vote win for House Democrats, that mandate extends to protecting the middle class all around, including by protecting Medicare and Medicaid.