When Nancy Pelosi served as Speaker of the House, her job was conditioning her members for disappointment. It was Pelosi who had to bring them around to a Senate-designed health-care law that lacked a public option, a cap-and-trade bill that gave away most of its permits, a stimulus that did too little, a bank bailout that endangered their careers. Pelosi had to do that because, well, that’s what the speaker of the House has to do. To govern is to compromise. And when you’re in charge, you have to govern.But Boehner chose a different course.
He made his bill more conservative. He indulged his members in the fantasy that they wouldn’t have to make compromises. It’s as if Pelosi, facing criticism for dropping the public option, had tried to shore up her support by bringing a single-payer health-care bill to the floor. Even if that would have pleased her left wing, what good would it have done her? Her job was to prepare her members to take a vote that could lead to a successful outcomeIt remains to be seen if Boehner's indulgence of the right-wing freshman was a mistake or not. Ezra's definition (and mine as well) of a successful outcome, and Boehner's are clearly two different outcomes.
So far, the Freshmen refusal to compromise much at all has gotten them what they want. The Democrats have capitulated to this point, seemingly getting only a debt increase that will last thru the 2012 election without making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
But, no compromise bill has passed through the House and I've seen nothing in the words or conduct of the Freshmen that suggests to me they have any intention compromising beyond the Bill passed Friday night.
I'm convinced the Freshmen welcome a default.
So, while all the nattering nabobs in the Village seem convinced that Boehner somehow "must" work with Democrats to get through this compromise Bill, Boehner certainly has said nothing -- or done nothing to this point -- to suggest he has any intention of doing so.
"It's my way or the highway" has worked so far, why would they change course now?