In a new piece posted at The Atlantic’s website, Republican strategist and former House leadership aide John Feehery tells political reporter Molly Ball that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) “ought to ditch the Hastert rule.” As the article details:
Feehery actually wrote the speech in which Hastert laid out the rule that bears his name. He coined the catchy phrase ‘majority of the majority.’ And now he thinks Boehner ought to ditch the Hastert rule.
Feehery outlined his thinking in a blog post in January. In a recent interview, he elaborated: Given the current ‘ungovernable’ state of the House GOP caucus, he told me, Boehner must balance the risk to his own standing with the ‘larger reputational risk’ to the Republican Party.
Ball notes that the best model for Speaker Boehner may not even be Speaker Hastert at all, but instead, former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-MA):
Like O’Neill, Boehner has a partisan majority that is often divided ideologically. He has a large number of members who need to vote against Democrat-backed legislation for political reasons, but might not mind seeing such legislation pass in the end — and thus might not hold it against Boehner when he violates the Hastert rule. That is, they wouldn’t depose him as speaker.
O’Neill was frequently humiliated by his divided caucus, just as Boehner is today. But he’s now remembered as an effective and savvy liberal leader who embodied the art of compromise. If Boehner is looking for a model, maybe Hastert is the wrong speaker to emulate.
Or he can listen to Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) who had this to say to the Washington Post last Friday:
When you look at growers and the union organized by Cesar Chavez reaching a national agreement, when you see evangelicals and Baptists, conservatives, together with Presbyterians and Unitarians, and Muslims and Mormons, all coming together to find common ground to solve our immigration system, why is it that the only place in the social, economic, political spectrum of America that we can’t find this is in the House of Representatives?
It is the only place where we say, ‘Oh no, here, we want a majority of the majority. Here we want a Republican solution….We know this is the people’s house, but we’re not gonna let the people’s voice be heard, and let democracy reign, until 120 out of 435 agree to allow the rest of them to be able to express themselves in a democratic fashion.’
….We’re going to question that new truth. You just say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not exactly fair. I thought the guy with the most votes wins.’