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Brooks: Boehner ‘Wasn’t That Imaginative,’ GOP Wasn’t ‘Aggressive’ On Policy, But Some Critics Don’t See ‘Reality’

New York Times columnist David Brooks stated that while House Speaker Representative John Boehner (R-OH) “wasn’t that imaginative, and the Republicans weren’t that aggressive in putting together a lot of policies,” “he did know reality,” which “Some of his critics don’t seem to see” on Friday’s “PBS NewsHour.”

Brooks said of Boehner’s resignation, “this specific act, was the right thing. [Rep.] Paul Ryan (R-WI) called it a selfless act. And I think it really is a selfless act. It spares us from a potential government shutdown. It helps the institution. It helps his party from the fallout from a government shutdown. And so I think it’s a beautiful act. Now, over the long term, the downside of Boehner was that he wasn’t that imaginative, and the Republicans weren’t that aggressive in putting together a lot of policies, an alternative to Obamacare, a healthcare, a tax plan, whatever. But he did know reality. He could see reality around him. He knew the craft of politics and how you craft a deal, especially these budget deals. Some of his critics don’t seem to see that reality, that they don’t control the White House or the supermajority in the Senate. And they don’t seem to respect the craft of politics. And if they ever get in actual power, they are going to be introduced it to rudely.”

He added, “I think…a lot’s going to be the same, assuming [Rep.] Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) takes over. He’s not that totally different than Boehner. He’s happy. He’s a happy guy. He’s a charming guy, right now a little more in lock, in favor with the very conservatives, but he’s still basically a reality-based politician. And he’ll understand how to try to do deals. So, I think he’ll get a little bit of a breather. But the people who believe that they’re in office not to pass legislation, but merely to express their id, are still there. And so that conflict will still be there. And then, more structurally — Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution had a good piece today saying that the office of the speaker is weaker, because there’s less earmarks, so they can’t give away pork projects to control people. The parties are weaker because of campaign finance. And there’s just a lot of free-spirited individualism in the House now.”

Brooks further stated that even when the Democrats gain control of the speakership, there will be “a lot more fractiousness,” and that while “some rump of the Republican Party doesn’t believe in politics. I think most of the Democratic Party doesn’t believe in politics. They’re the party of government. They believe in government.” Although he also said that in some sense, the GOP “can get a little more extreme over tactics.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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