"Our job is to find enough common ground to move the ball down the field..."
In a nutshell, this describes how Congress is, ideally, supposed to work. But in the 10 or so years that I've been old enough/smart enough to follow politics, it's something that I've rarely seen executed, and recently that kind of thinking feels more like a pipedream (and I'm not talking the DMT kind).
But yesterday at a press conference John Boehner, yes that John Boehner, not only said the above words, but followed them up with an admission that conservative groups like Heritage Action, Freedom Works, and Club For Growth are basically ruining everything (he used a bit more flowery language). It was great to hear of course, but it was a bit surprising coming from Pumpkinhead, even if it is a known fact that all is not right in the House of Red. And sure it may just be the soundtrack to chairs being rearranged on the GOP Titanic, but wear your callouses down for a second and appreciate one tiny moment of rational thinking. It's good for the soul.
I don't want to sound like I'm making a bipartisan mountain out of this molehill, but doesn't it feel nice to hear something that even resembles a cooperative spirit? I mean, I know it's pathetic that even the mere semblance of sanity is enough for me to want to write an article about it, but to hear a man who in that same press conference described himself as "as conservative as anybody around this place" tear into Tea Party groups that he believes have "lost all credibility" (see: "are ruining things") is a welcome cause for commendation.
Yes he uses them as a bit of a scapegoat when he claims, "They pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and shut down the government," but he is a politician and that's what politicians do. And you have to admit it was pretty enjoyable to hear him tap into his inner Jon Stewart with an exaggerated "Are you kidding me?!" when recounting the story of a pro-shutdown group claiming after the fact that they knew the strategy wouldn't work. He's not a great actor, but he makes for a fun GIF character.
According to Huffington Post, Boehner showed his first signs of true frustration Wednesday, when he slammed the groups for coming out against the budget deal BEFORE THEY HAD EVER SEEN IT and accused them of "using" his members. Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity stated their opposition to the Murray-Ryan budget deal before it was even announced, while Club for Growth urged members to vote against it moments after the deal was made public.
You know, stuff that ruiners do.
"I came here to cut the size of government," he said. "That's exactly what this bill does, and why conservatives wouldn't vote for this or criticize the bill is beyond any recognition I could come up with."
Because they're ruiners? We've known this for a long time Johnny Boy, but it's good to see you're finally at least admitting there's a giant tea-partying elephant in the room that's shitting on everything.
Now do I think this is the start of an era where Democrats and Republicans hold hands and frolic down the Senate steps on their way to split milkshakes? Of course not. But as Harry Reid said later in the day, "It was a breath of fresh air as far as I'm concerned."
Our economy sucks, our kids are idiots compared to the rest of the world, and for the most part, our political system is royally screwed. But that's why it's important to celebrate these little victories.
And don't be confused; this isn't a victory for liberals. This is a victory for the concepts of Compromise and Common Sense, both of which were in serious need of a win.