Is Speaker Boehner in Trouble?

shutterstock_107599943President Obama’s daily fishing expedition for support on his plan to intervene in Syria has landed him a big fish.  House Speaker John Boehner has backed the President’s plan for a military strike against Syria. Obama has been working hard trying to gain the support of Congress as well as the international community for a military strike that he hopes will send a message to Syria and others who possess chemical weapons.  Today the United Nations warned the United States that it should not proceed with a military intervention against Syria.

Where does this latest move leave Boehner’s speakership?  There have been rumors mounting that Boehner’s popularity is dwindling within the Republican Party.  Tea Party conservatives feel that Boehner has drifted toward the establishment wing of the party.  Others, myself included, have a hard time discerning precisely where Boehner has drifted.  The Republicans have a branding and messaging problem. Boehner has done little to address these problems.

Covering the President

The President’s invocation of a “red line” concerning Syria’s use of chemical weapons left him between a rock and a hard place.  Now that the US intelligence community believes with high confidence that Assad did utilize chemical weapons against its own people, the President is forced to do something.  The President has been scrambling to cover his tracks without having to eat his words.  Many liberal Democrats and conservative Tea Party members are making strange bedfellows by withholding support of military action in Syria.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has taken the President to task for mismanaging the situation.  Graham recently argued that the President has been all over the road on this issue.  From going to not going, to needing or not needing Congressional approval, the president has not handled the situation well.   Graham stated that the President needs to, “up his game” as it pertains to Syria and win the support and confidence of the American people.  Right now, a majority of Americans do not support intervening in Syria.

What’s Boehner’s Angle?

Political scholar Norman Ornstein has argued that Boehner is giving himself an escape route for when larger issues come to the table this fall.  The debt ceiling will be a major point of contention between the two parties.  Ornstein’s point is that Boehner will be able to postpone these issues with a looming crisis in Syria.  This is my exact problem with Boehner’s leadership. If Ornstein is correct, it is ridiculous to support military intervention because you need a parachute to avoid dealing with serious domestic issues.  It is somewhat ironic to me that Boehner’s leadership in the House is similar to that of Obama’s in the White House.  Obama’s foreign policy strategy is a mess.  Boehner does not want to lead.  The President does not want to lead. Will Boehner survive as Speaker?  I believe he will make it to the midterms.  If the Republicans still control the House after the 2014 elections, I believe John Boehner will be looking for a new chair to sit upon when the music stops.

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