According to Speaker of the House John Boehner, the pushback he’s been battling from conservative Republicans is entirely explained by Tea Party leaders looking to expand their fundraising coffers. In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Boehner said that the differences between him and the Tea Party had nothing to do with strategy or vision.
“It’s a disagreement over tactics, from time to time,” he said. “Frankly, a lot is being driven by national groups here in Washington who have raised money just beating the dickens out of me.”
He lamented that the criticism has been effective. “It works. They raise money, put it in their pocket, and pay themselves big salaries.”
Is Boehner right? Is the movement against him driven by Tea Party leaders more interested in making themselves rich than they are in restoring conservatism to the Republican Party? Or is he grasping at straws, trying to find a way to spin his Obama-supporting record without losing the base?
As with most things, there is room for both viewpoints. Certainly, it is true that certain leaders can widen their visibility by choosing controversial issues, a tactic that can easily lead to bigger and better fundraising efforts. But one can just as easily dismiss Boehner’s own tactics as ones intended to provide comfort and security for Wall Street donors who would otherwise find another politician to support. At the end of the day, every politician in Washington has to consider the financial and political viability of their position.
But none of this explains the outpouring of anger from voters themselves. The average voter has nothing to gain by opposing Boehner. Most conservatives would be more than happy to abandon this GOP infighting. Most would be thrilled to focus all of their attention towards defeating Obama’s policies. Unfortunately, the current GOP leadership is unwilling to confront those policies in an effective way.
How angry would you be if you bought a car based on the promise that it would go 120mph, only to find out once you unleashed fury on a desolate highway that it stalled out at 80mph? You take it back to the dealership, demanding answers. They tell you that, well, the manufacturers decided that 120mph was unrealistic and unsafe. They installed a chip at the last minute to limit the engine to only 80.
This is the situation conservatives faces with current Republican leadership, and to blame it all on rich political fundraisers is to tell voters that their concerns don’t matter. Some have called Boehner a RINO and a traitor. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he is certainly not the kind of strong leader we need at the head of the party. Obama has dragged this country as far to the left as our Constitution can bear…and then a bit farther still. You don’t combat that type of lawlessness with compromise and pandering. You combat it with strength and wisdom.