Is Sanity Creeping into the GOP Leadership?
by Jules Witcover
Is it possible that the adults in
That prospect has reared its head in the decision of Republican leaders in both the House and
First, House Speaker John Boehner looked down the black hole of government shutdown, a potential replay of the tea-party engineered kamikaze mission in October, and refused to lead his party into it again. Stunned
When the issue moved to the
But in the end, the two ranking Republican leaders, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn, had enough of Cruz and his tea-party ilk. Like Boehner in the House, they saw the groundhog of another winter of obstruction popping up and decided to zap it.
McConnell and Cornyn, like Boehner, were willing to take a political bullet for their party. They invited tea party challenges to colleagues up for re-election in this year's
In short order, 12 Republican senators switched, giving the leaders political cover, and Cruz's filibuster was strangled in its crib by a 67-31 vote. The debt ceiling was then raised on a straight party vote, 55-43, as President Obama had insisted from the start.
The outcome was an unvarnished victory for his position that it was the obligation of
The key political question in all this is whether these hopeful signs will be sustained in the months ahead, and particularly whether a new climate of bipartisanship is in the making on
Is Boehner in the House truly fed up with the antics of his tea party members, who seem determined at every turn to buck Obama above all other considerations?
And are McConnell and other Republican senators similarly fed up with Cruz' delusions of grandeur and presidential aspirations, pursued at the expense of a functioning
Unfortunately, the recent ray of hope that sanity may be creeping into the behavior in both chambers is being seen in a particularly critical political year, when the fate of the Obama presidency likely hangs on the outcome of the November congressional elections.
Unless the president can retain party control of
An opposition party encouraged to stay on the same uncooperative course, counting on more Obamacare woes to give the
But equally critical for him is whether Boehner, McConnell and other Republican adults on
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"Is Sanity Creeping into the GOP Leadership?"