In the wake of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's abrupt announcement that he will be forfeiting his speakership as well as his Congressional seat, there was a flutter of perspective and analysis, some meaningful, some clever.
Over the past half-decade or so, since the GOP's winning back of the U.S. House, Boehner became known for his combative, "hell no" approach to dealing with President Obama on a few issues, namely the Affordable Care Act. But as New York's Jonathan Chait writes, it just wasn't enough for those lurking in his party's most extreme skinfolds, many of whom don't think negotiation should be a part of making laws when you're dealing with commie-Nazis or whatever.
Boehner's inclination toward deal-making was most recently reflected in his reluctance to threaten a government shutdown over funding of Planned Parenthood after an anti-abortion group released a slurry of heavily doctored "sting" videos aimed at sparking public outrage on abortion.
The oft-emotional Boehner will leave office Oct. 30.
There had been rumors that Pope Francis' speech to Congress Thursday may have moved him to resign. During a press conference Friday afternoon streamed over the Web courtesy of Roll Call, he said that wasn't the case.
It was indeed the infighting that drove him to the decision, he said, which he swiftly came to in the past day.
"I don't want my members to have to go through this, and I certainly don't want the institution to go through this," he said.
The news began to spread at about 10 a.m. Friday, not long after he told his colleagues. As the House's conservative wing fought for his ouster (and a rare floor vote to accomplish it), according to a written statement his office sent out earlier Friday, the writing apparently, as they say, was on the wall.
"The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution that we all love. It was my plan to only serve as Speaker until the end of last year, but I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House. It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution."
Reactions, of course, have run the gamut.
This Vine sums up the Tea Party's (jowly) reaction.
Moderate Republicans seemed to understand why Boehner resigned, but chided their more extreme colleagues for dividing the party.
"The honor of John Boehner this morning stands in stark contrast to the idiocy of those members who seek to continually divide us," moderate U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R—Indian Shores) said in the immediate wake of the announcement, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The U.S. Senate candidate's office later sent out a more, em, tempered statement marking the occasion.
"John Boehner made a decision this morning that he believes is in the best interest of the nation. As a colleague and as someone who believes in the honor of an institution we call the People's House, I commend his decision and I commend the Speaker for his decades of service. The important question we now face as a party is whether we will be a Congress committed to governing, to giving voice to the people who entrust us to serve, and to actually moving legislation that addresses the issues most important to the country."
While there was some rejoicing among a few Democrats, others immediately saw potential pitfalls in his departure, including The Florida Squeeze's Justin Snyder:
— Justin Snyder (@JustinSnyderFL) September 25, 2015
It's as-yet unclear who will succeed him, but the competition for the speakership could prove entertaining, as Republican consultant Alex Patton notes:
Congress just became a huge LARP of Game of Thrones. #sayfie
— Alex Patton (@alex_patton) September 25, 2015
Those potentially in the running include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R—CA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R—LA), and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R—TX). Two possible contenders from Florida also made that list: Rep. Daniel Webster (R—Winter Garden) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R—Gainesville).
Sigh of relief for the fact that only members of the House can throw their hats in the ring, as the Florida Democratic Party's Max Steele notes.
.@realDonaldTrump hasn't tweeted yet because he's checking to see if he can run for Speaker and President at the same time.
— Max Steele (@maxasteele) September 25, 2015