There’s a lot of discussion in the blogosphere of the shutdown, John Boehner, and the “Hastert Rule”, the idea that a speaker is imprudent to bring something to the floor for which a majority of his caucus won’t vote. I honestly don’t know where to put the quotation marks on that phrase—on “Hastert” (since it’s not unique to Denny Hastert), on “Rule” since it’s just a rule of thumb, or on the whole shebang.
I have a question. There are lots of people who want John Boehner to fall on his sword. Why should he? If you’re arguing that it’s for the good of the country, there are a lot of things that would be good for the country. Many Republicans, for example, think that delaying the “individual mandate” in the PPACA would be good for the country. Most Democrats disagree. In other words, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s good for the country and you don’t need to introduce imputations of malicious intent into the discussion at all. There’s a difference of opinion. Is John Boehner the only person in the country who has an obligation to sacrifice or compromise?
If you wonder why I don’t come back immediately in some discussions, one of the reasons is that I don’t feel comfortable defending Republicans even implicitly and when I don’t feel comfortable doing something I tend not to do it. I don’t have a consuming interest in Republicans. My Alderman is a Democrat, my state senator is a Democrat, my state representative is a Democrat, my Congressional representative is a Democrat, the mayor of the city in which I live is a Democrat, the Chicago City Council consists entirely of Democrats. All of those are likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. The governor of Illinois is a Democrat and there’s a slim chance that might change. In other words, Republicans have practically no relevance to my daily life.