Boehner rejects Confederates in GOP civil war

Three cheers for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who had a very good week. He has declared his independence from the Tea Party and others who are the most radical wing of any major political party in more than a century.

Long ago I wrote that there would be a politically bloody civil war in the GOP that will begin in 2013 and escalate through the 2016 presidential campaign. The civil war has now formally begun, and Boehner, to stick with the civil war analogy, has rejected the Confederates and is now leading the Union side in this civil war.

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The Union wing of the GOP that Boehner now leads (along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie) believes that we live in one nation, with different points of view that deserve to be respected, and divided government that must function effectively for the nation to prosper.

By contrast, the Confederate wing of the GOP wants to secede from mainstream America, believes that politics should be a tribal war and treats Republican moderates and centrists as their enemy, as much as Democrats.

The Confederate Republican wing, led by far-out figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), had the upper hand during the shutdown crisis that did so much damage to the already collapsed Republican brand.

As in "Star Wars," the empire strikes back. In this case the emperor is Boehner, Christie, mainstream business Republicans, and others who believe a political party should be a big tent and not a rightist cult.

Ronald Reagan would be proud of Boehner for standing up to, and denouncing, the Confederate wing of Republicans and championing a big tent GOP that governs instead of obstructs. This time around, Boehner was strong, Boehner was forceful, Boehner was clear, Boehner was a Speaker who acted like a Speaker in the best traditions of the Grand Old Party.

I tip my hat to John Boehner, though the GOP civil war has barely begun and will be very nasty indeed as Republicans battle Republicans for the future and soul of the party.