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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs