The big news is that John Boehner is stepping down as Speaker of the House. But the really big part of that news story is that he isn't merely stepping down as Speaker, but resigning from Congress completely. Poof! Gone!
What will that mean for our country? That simple question has two answers, one pretty awful, but another that is really pretty good.
But first, why is he stepping away from such a powerful post? The answer to that one is also not very pretty. Boehner has had very limited success due to opposition from within his own party. But everyone thought he could (and would) ride out the latest barrage of criticism and continue on as the Speaker. He has done it before, and everyone except for Tea Party diehards expected him to do it again. But for him so step down like this, is not only unexpected, it is also unprecedented in recent history. For him to walk away under pressure means something very important has occurred. His explanation, that he merely wants to avoid problems for his party, is mostly smoke and mirrors to cover the real story.
That real story is interesting because it can represent only two possibilities. One is that Boehner's control over the unruly boors of the Tea Party is so tattered that it has become meaningless and ineffectual, making his leadership a non-factor. That is the obvious choice believed by most. But there is one other possibility. John Boehner may have a very large skeleton in his closet that he can't afford to let out in the open, and the Tea Party radicals have discovered it and threatened him with its revelation.
Seem far fetched? Not to me. If the pressure has not changed much then why is it enough to force him to step down this time, after enduring and successfully fighting it off previously? Personally, I put nothing past the ugly Tea Party, and they would use any tactic at their disposal to seize control of our government. Blackmail would be far too acceptable, convenient, and easy for that slippery crowd.
But let's get to the real story, here. What effect will this have on the Republican Party and the rest of us, as well?
In the short term, the Republican Party, as run by the hooligan crowd, will become even more obstinate and repressive in its efforts to back this country up a few decades-worth of progress. But as foreboding as this prospect is, there is a silver lining here worth noting. Our future is, after all, at stake. If it is going to be as negative as some are predicting, we definitely need a silver lining here, of some sort.
How can this turn out good? Well, there are actually two things I believe this scenario means for our future. One is in the short term and the other is long term. Boehner is stepping down as of the end of October--less than half way through the current session of Congress, which ends in January, 2017.