From National Review Online via Drudge:
"I think he [Speaker John Boehner] has strengthened his position in leadership," Representative John Fleming says about Boehner. "He hung in there with us. He's been reluctant to go to these fights and now that we have stood up and fought for our values and he's been there with us, leading, I think his stock has risen tremendously. He has great security as our leader and our speaker."
Julius Caesar was saluted, too... just before the long knives came out.
Concerning the recent (lost) battle over ObamaCare, the budget, and the national debt, Speaker Boehner got out in front of his caucus lest he be putsch-ed aside by die-hard conservatives.
The speaker's leadership, such as it was, had less to do with conviction than survival. Without the pressure exerted by House conservatives (and, principally, Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee), it's very likely that Boehner, McConnell, and congressional Republicans would have folded tents much sooner.
But then, there wouldn't have been the "mess" created by congressional conservatives, who listened too attentively to uncouth Tea Party activists and unruly grassroots conservatives, all of whom have had a snoot full of congressional Republicans' timidity and pillow-fighting tactics.
Without congressional conservative hellions, the speaker and McConnell would have had a cleaner narrative: declaring a handful of nothing a victory with the chance to "fight another day," which, translated, means to fight for yet more handfuls of nothing on another day.
Washington Republicans are in a snit, trotting out the familiar What does anyone expect us to do when we control only the House? And Conservatives have mucked up chances to retain the House and gain the Senate in 2014.
Republican parrots forget what 2010 was all about, when the GOP made gains in House elections not seen since the late 1930s and late 1940s. The 2010 gains were fueled mainly by fired-up grassroots conservatives and Tea Partiers who wanted nothing to do with ObamaCare or the president's New Statism. Establishment Republicans owe the grassroots -- big time.
Perhaps establishment Republicans don't grasp how little their credibility is with the grassroots and, hence, how little they're trusted to stand by conservative principles and fight with genuine belief. Establishment Republicans are seen as sellouts, pure and simple.
Grassroots conservatives don't expect the moon and the stars, contrary to the condescending perceptions in D.C. They expect a fight from Republicans that draws stark differences against Democrats over critical issues. They expect Republican leaders to untie their tongues for once to explain to voters and taxpayers what they're doing and why -- and why it's critical for the nation's welfare that they win (yes, win, a foreign concept among Washington's Republican accommodationists).
As Ted Cruz demonstrated, a conservative can command media attention when he stands tough for what he believes in. And if Republicans can't get through to the public via mainstream media channels, then go to local media and social media in critical markets across the nation. End-run the national media. Can't establishment Republicans' bright and highly paid consultants create out-of-the-box communications plans for a change?
But then, there has to be something worthwhile to communicate. D.C. Republicans want only to make the entire bloated, overleveraged federal system "work," because that's their duties as bean-counters and managers. Hey, it may not serve noble ends, but you can't beat the pay and perks.
So Congressman Fleming came yesterday to praise John Boehner. Meanwhile, the chasm grows between the GOP establishment and the grassroots. Is it unbridgeable?
Twenty-fourteen is right around the corner.