Then, after doing all that, you face a rebellion by those same co-workers, facing off against an angry group of your peers that wants you out of your job?
Welcome to Speaker of the House John Boehner's world. Or, the world he is leaving. When the rebellion against him swelled to a point he knew was bad for the institution, he did what many of us would have done long ago -- resigned for the good of the Congress. He is a dying breed in the Congress. The right-wing nuts in the house -- and they are nuts -- are taking over even though they have a minority of the caucus' votes and a minority of the country behind them.
One example of the right-wingnuts arrogance: Cong. Matt Salmon of Arizona said: "(Senator Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell is infinitely worse as a leader than Boehner. He surrenders at the sight of battle every time. We made a lot of promises to the American people that if we took the Senate that we would do certain things and those things have not been accomplished."
Mr. Salmon (and, for disclosure, I once worked with him in a consulting firm), there are about 30 of you in the House who threatened Mr. Boehner. Those 30 represent districts that contain 710,767 people each (men, women and children, by the way, not all of voting age). The U.S. population is 320 million. The 21 million is less than 10 percent of the country (again, that's counting those of non-voting age). You do not speak for "all Americans," you speak for a minority.
John Boehner deserves a long, healthy retirement where he can spend time with his family, his faith and maybe earn some money after sacrificing all those things to serve his country, something he did quite well. He put up with more than the rest of us could handle. And he left to keep the Congress from going through a no-confidence vote that is rare in a democracy. Plus he bought the country another couple of weeks without a government shutdown threat and the economic upheaval that we all endured not that long ago, because of the right-wing nuts in Congress. He did not want his true friends in the caucus to have to make that vote.
The Tea Party is celebrating his departure. Many Democrats outside the Congress are too, thinking he was bad for the country. But, friends, you ain't seen nothing yet. If Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy succeeds Bohener, as is assumed, he inherits the same dynamic that Boehner faced, emboldened by what they see as a victory by forcing Boehner out. Unless McCarthy caves to the Tea Partyers' desire to stop this country from operating so they can maybe someday get their way, nothing is about to change. These people like to look good losing. They make promises to their constituents that they know they cannot keep. And then they blame the Speaker of the House for their failures. And the country stagnates. Boehner, freed from the need to hold back, gave that piece of honesty when interviewed yesterday. Boehner could finally let himself be Boehner.
Some say that the Speaker approached his leadership responsibilities the wrong way, that he should have taken a stronger tack with his caucus. He could have stood up to the Tea Party types and maybe had a more successful Speakership, a speakership of mre accomplishments rather than a speakership of stopping worse things from happening.
The Tea Party types began to sow the seeds of their rebellion on literally the first vote after they took office. They were clear in their designs on the Congress. Boehner, many say, is just too nice a guy to be Speaker. Probably true. Personally, I enjoyed watching him sitting behind the Pope the other day as the Pope addressed Congress. Boehner's eyes welled with tears over the moment. A sign of strength, not weakness.
I guess Boehner could have tried marginalizing the Tea Party folks more, and working across the aisle more -- something that may have worked and better fits his style. I give Boehner credit for being the last bastion against total craziness in the House. It could have been far worse than it has been. It may yet be,