News / USA

Analysts: Boehner-Obama Clash Likely

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP's victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and will likely elevate him to speaker of the House, during an election night gathering hosted by the National Republican Congressional
House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP's victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and will likely elevate him to speaker of the House, during an election night gathering hosted by the National Republican Congressional

Sweeping Republican Party victories in Tuesday's U.S. midterm elections will enable the party to take majority control of the House of Representatives away from Democrats when the new Congress convenes in in January.  Republican minority leader John Boehner is expected to become the new Speaker of the House.  Analysts say Boehner will be one of the most powerful and public faces of the conservative challenge to President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress.

Humble beginnings

In his official congressional biography, Republican Representative John Boehner describes himself as a "straight-shooting and relentless advocate for freedom and security."

The 60-year-old former businessman often reminds voters of his humble origins.  He was born in the midwestern city of Cincinnati, Ohio and was one of 12 brothers and sisters who grew up helping his father run a neighborhood bar.

Boehner told the story in an emotional victory speech on Tuesday night after winning re-election to Congress.

"I have spent my whole life chasing the American dream," an emotional Boehner told the crowd. "All right.  Listen, I bet a lot of you know I started out mopping floors, waiting tables and tending bar at my dad's tavern."

After graduating from college, Boehner worked in the plastics industry and served in the Ohio state legislature, before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990.  

Congressional accomplishments

In Congress, Boehner helped craft what was called the "Contract with America" championed by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.  In 1994, Gingrich waged a battle to limit government spending with Democratic President Bill Clinton that forced a temporary shutdown of the federal government.  Analysts say the episode hurt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans.  And Bill Clinton was re-elected president two years later.

Political analyst Larry Sabato says Boehner should learn from that experience and from the highly partisan leadership style of current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"I think if Boehner is smart, he will learn from the Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi disasters and keep as low a profile as he can," Sabato said. " We will see how smart he is.  He is said to be very clever.  If he is smart, then he will resist the celebrity that comes with this position."

Republicans who know Boehner describe him as more of a behind-the-scenes tactician than a visionary leader like Gingrich.

Give and take

Congressional Quarterly Weekly magazine Managing Editor David Hawkings says Boehner is a compromiser.  

"It was John Boehner who worked with [the late Massachusetts Democratic Senator] Ted Kennedy, and [California Democratic Representative] George Miller and [former Republican President] George W. Bush 10 years ago to get the large education overhaul known as "No Child Left Behind," which is one of the signature bipartisan achievements in recent years.  John Boehner knows how to cut a deal.  But he will be under terrific pressure not to cut any deals from the new and very angry freshmen Republicans who are coming in under his wing."

Political analyst Larry Sabato agrees that Boehner's expected House speakership will likely be very difficult because of the newly-elected so-called Tea Party Republicans who are calling for a more limited role for government, low taxes and a stronger military.

"John Boehner will have his hands full just keeping his Republican caucus together," Sabato said.  "There is a significant split between mainstream Republicans and Tea Party Republicans.  And his difficulty is going to be that the Senate is controlled by Democrats and the White House is controlled by Democrats.  It is difficult to think of a single major piece of legislation he can get through the House that will make it through the Senate or that will be signed by President Obama."

Republican message

During his victory speech, John Boehner addressed what he sees as the message of Tuesday's Republican victories for President Obama.

"While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people's house, we must remember it is the president who sets the agenda for our government," he said. "The American people have sent an unmistakable message to him tonight.  And that message is 'Change Course!'"

Obama reaction

In a news conference on Wednesday, President Obama said he is willing to work with Republicans to improve economic conditions for average Americans, who are frustrated at the pace of change.

But Larry Sabato is skeptical that the president and Boehner will be able to find common ground.

"There will be a lot of happy talk for the next couple of weeks.  Wise people won't believe a bit of it," he said.  "We have the most polarized political parties in modern times.  They have almost nothing in common; they don't believe in the same things; they don't overlap enough to come up with legislation that is compromise."

Analysts says that as the presumptive next House Speaker, John Boehner appears to be on a collision course with the president and Democrats on extending Bush era tax cuts, on raising the federal debt ceiling and on a desire by many Republicans to dismantle President Obama's landmark health care reform legislation.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid