House Republicans had every reason to be angry, but more of them should have gone along with this handiwork just as they should earlier have stuck by Boehner when he revised his initial offer with something better than this travesty. The big question now, of course, is what comes next, and we have some hints.
Following passage of the pork-heavy legislation, Obama talked about the need to invest more in the economy, which is to say, his solution for too much spending is more spending. Democrats in Congress are talking about finding another trillion in tax increases, which is ideology gone bananas. There is also some Democratic mention of cuts, but you don’t sense seriousness, just a wink and a nudge.
As for Boehner, re-elected speaker despite disgruntlement, he’s announced he will focus on the House passing legislation it believes in instead of more fruitless sessions with the president. He also cursed Reid for his dictator speech only to have Gov. Christie of his own party denounce him for not immediately passing a disaster relief measure in response to Hurricane Sandy. The legislation did get passed fairly quickly after the elimination of billions in pork unrelated to the hurricane, and no hurt has been done to hurricane victims.
I wouldn’t blame Boehner for cursing Christie, too, but he’s got more important chores, such as tangling again with the raising of a debt ceiling. He’s maybe the best leader in D.C. right now, and if Obama would do us the favor of more vacation time in Hawaii, maybe Boehner and others can find compromises that are also real long-term answers to some unbelievable nastiness otherwise coming our way.
Jay Ambrose is the former Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers.