John Boehner represents the 8th congressional district of Ohio. It’s made up of suburbs and farmland and sits along the border with Indiana. The biggest city in the 8th district is Hamilton, with a population of 62,000. Republicans have represented Boehner’s district since 1939. He got elected in 1990 after he challenged the incumbent congressman, who had been convicted of paying a 16-year old girl $40 for sex. Boehner has been elected without significant opposition since then, twice with no opposition at all.
This creep, who is now Speaker of the House, has decided to shut down much of the federal government in a vain attempt to interfere with implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Democrats have been asking for negotiations on the 2014 budget for six months, but Boehner and his Republican colleagues decided it would make more sense to become extortionists. Go back and renegotiate Obamacare, you Democrats, or else we’ll send 800,000 Federal workers home, force another million to work without pay, close various government facilities and suspend programs like the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children!
There’s common agreement that there are some relatively moderate Republicans who would join Democrats in voting to keep the government open, if Boehner allowed that simple vote to take place. But he hasn’t done that yet. He’s apparently terrified that he’s going to lose the support of the craziest Republicans and not be Speaker of the House anymore. He might even lose his seat in Congress to some Tea Party clown next time the Republicans in the 8th district go to the polls.
If Republicans who don’t represent places like the 8th district of Ohio were allowed to “vote their conscience” (something members of the House might want to do sometimes), this stupid shutdown wouldn’t be happening.
There are two good things about it, however. The Republicans look bad and might even lose some seats next year. And the Democrats are holding firm. If I were Senator Harry Reid or President Obama, my answer to Boehner would be a simple “Fuck you!”, or, a bit more politely, what General McAuliffe told the Germans when they demanded our surrender at the Battle of the Bulge: “Nuts!”
P.S. — For some history regarding the Republican concept of “negotiation”:
The Republican position has been clear for three years: they will refuse to negotiate if negotiation could mean having to give something up. But they will loudly demand a negotiation over something that is not open to compromise, namely a settled law from 2009…