Friday, October 18, 2013

One Cheer for John Boehner

10/18/2013—Welcome back from the surgery hiatus.

In all the gloating from Democrats and confusion and despair from Republicans, not much has been said about the way that the government shutdown ended. People had been saying for weeks that the Republicans in the House would have to give up. But if they were not giving up. And there was no particular reason to think that they would give up. What seems inevitable now was not inevitable last week.

So, what happened? It seems to me that what happened is that John Boehner meant what he said, which was widely reported, some time ago: that he would not permit a default on the national debt. And he did not.

Boehner's strategy was apparently give in to his caucus for a period of time so that, when the time came, he could bring a bill to the floor that would reopen the government and pay the debt in violation of the informal agreement in the House that no bills would be brought to the floor unless they had majority support in the Republican caucus.

Why does this not make John Boehner something of a hero? Do not imagine that the default, with all its terrible consequences, could never have happened. It could have happened. It did not happen because of John Boehner.

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