Being elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives by his Republican peers should have been the happy culmination of a long congressional career for Rep. John Boehner. Telling his story about rising from modest circumstances – the second of 12 children in a working-class Ohio family – to become a legislative leader and second in order of presidential succession frequently brought tears to his eyes.
But so far, at least, it’s largely been a slog through political swamps. He’s had to fight off not only Democrats but tea partiers and other members of his own party – including the 25 Republican House members who voted for somebody else as Speaker last month in what the Washington Post reported as “the largest rebellion by a party against its incumbent speaker since the Civil War.”
Late Friday night – literally at the 11th hour – Mr. Boehner faced another wall of opposition, into which he crashed.
The stunning House defeat of a three-week spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security exposed Boehner’s weakness in the face of rebellious GOP conservatives – 52 of whom went against him.