At the last GOP conference meeting of the two-week government shutdown, Speaker John Boehner told Republicans they had “fought the good fight,” they all rose up to offer a standing ovation. “It was one of the easiest meetings we’ve ever had,” says Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.
Many in the mainstream media were already beginning to write an obituary for Speaker John Boehner, but the amount of solidarity in the GOP caucus has overwhelming. It appears, despite Demcorats’ best efforts, Speaker John Boehner may be stronger than ever.
“I think he 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.”
The message from Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor was all about unity, and included less-than-faint warnings not to point fingers of blame.
“Everyone in this room ran on the Republican ticket,” Cantor told colleagues.
“We all agree Obamacare is an abomination. We all agree taxes are too high. We all agree spending is too high. We all agree Washington is getting in the way of job growth. We all agree we have a real debt crisis that will cripple future generations. We all agree on these fundamental conservative principles. . . . We must not confuse tactics with principles. The differences between us are dwarfed by the differences we have with the Democratic party, and we can do more for the American people united,” he told them.
Walking out of the meeting to the throng of reporters, conservatives kept to that script for once, but the moderates still couldn’t keep their mouths shut.
Representative Peter King of New York, who is not in such high-esteem with the conservative base, didn’t do much to help himself. He urged more Republican officials to speak up about Senator Ted Cruz and “condemn him for what he did.”
Representative Aaron Schock IL, said the lesson of the episode was that Boehner should cut out the far-right flank and work with centrist Democrats.
Most of the top conservatives who pushed the House GOP into an Obamacare fight weren’t very introspective, offering only forward-thinking words about the future fight and hope for great victories.
One conservative had offered up a bit of advice for future endeavors.
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California.