Lord of the Flies on Capitol Hill

While there are certainly internecine and factional rivalries in the Democratic party, it’s all but impossible to imagine the outpouring of celebration, schadenfreude and smackdowning that is greeting the retirement of Speaker John Boehner. Even a kind word on the day of his retirement appears beyond the ability of most of those he led. Yes, there’s been base clamoring against Nancy Pelosi and even more at certain times with Harry Reid. But it simply doesn’t compare to the angry joy we’re seeing now toward a quarter-century member of the House. The only analogue I can think of is the enmity that grew toward Joe Lieberman. But of course, by that time he wasn’t even a Democrat anymore, let alone one of the party’s top leaders.

Of course, it is of a piece with Boehner’s tenure – a largely reviled and half-effective, never-ending and seldom-lauded effort to keep half his caucus from carrying through with the latest ridiculously self-defeating and often country-damaging gambit. Boehner’s whole Speakership was, in a real sense, a permanent exercise in indignity. So the ending is not surprising.

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