Jonathan Chait

The Coming Boehner Purge

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Is House Minority leader and likely next Speaker John Boehner looking to be purged? Last weekend, he said that he would support a middle-class tax cut bill if it came up for a vote, infuriating Republicans by giving away his willingness to compromise. Boehner has been backpedaling since.

Now Boehner is promising not to shut down the government:

“Our goal is to have a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government here in Washington DC. Our goal is not to shut down the government,” he said.

Here's the problem. If Republicans want to defund the Affordable Care Act in 2011 -- and it's their highest priority -- shutting down the government is the only way to go. So Boehner is signalling to his rank and file that they have to abandon their most fervent demand.

I think he's about one gaffe away from being deposed and replaced with somebody more willing to indulge Tea Party fantasies.

If anybody wants to start up a Republican establishment Dead Pool, I'm picking Boehner.

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