So then the grown-ups joined forces and put the bad brats back in their playpen and took the dynamite away from them. The grown-ups then walked out and closed the door.
That's how the story ends. The story of an ignorant and inexperienced bunch of Tea Party crazies over-reaching in the House, egged on by Senator Ted Cruz. Thus ends the story of their shutting down the government and threatening a default on the nation's debt and a worldwide economic cataclysm.
In prior blog postings I described the steps that the grown-ups would take - in cooperation - to get the Tea Party House members knocked down to size. They followed the steps almost exactly. Obama, Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner worked together beautifully to turn the Tea Party into nothing more frightening than wet noodles. The five leaders have used the "crisis" to defang one of the scariest power blocs this country has ever spawned. We have passed now from a looming end to our form of government into a time when government may function once again. In short, the Tea Party no longer controls the House. It is discredited and powerless, having blown its leverage once and for all.
After all, what can they threaten with any more? Eating worms?
We have passed out from under the cloud of extortion being used to gain things one side wants but the majority of Americans don't. We have restored power to the actual majority of Republicans in the House, i.e. there are substantially fewer Tea Party representatives in the House than there are more moderate Republicans members. In all likelihood these more moderate Republicans will keep Boehner in his speakership.
After all, the Tea Party's recent commotion has dragged the GOP approval number down to 24%. For the GOP House members from moderate districts that number is very bad news. Thus they are not inclined to heed their Tea Party cohorts on anything any more. By all rights, therefore, Boehner is safe in the speakership.
And that's okay. He may be orange but that's okay. He may be way off on policy but that's okay. What he needs to be is an actual leader of the House, capable of delivering on the deals he cuts in the future with Obama. The test of that comes as the two sides now move to budget negotiations. Can he use the power of the speakership that he now has reclaimed from the Tea Party?
Please can our government now function again? Can we please have politics again as it should be practiced, not by ignorant amateurs but by people who know how to govern?
After the past two weeks of watching the political pros manage the defanging of the Tea Party, I think there is reason to hope they can work on other things together.
And now please reopen the Grand Canyon!