Boehner to leave after 2014? It’s not clear

Some sources think he would like to leave but that's hardly a story

Topics: Politics, Huffington Post, Media, John Boehner, Government, Washington, Congress

Boehner to leave after 2014? It's not clear (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

The headline is confident enough: Former Boehner Aides, GOP Sources: House Speaker Will Step Down After 2014 Elections. The Huffington Post article then backtracks that the always embattled Speaker of the House might leave after the 2014 midterms.

Alternately, the article speculates, he might not win his position again. On the record, Boehner’s office denies that he plans to leave.

Nonetheless, Boehner’s preference, according to sources, would be to leave if he could. But they also suggested that Boehner is wary of leaving negotiations with the Obama White House over spending and debt to others in the House GOP, and is also concerned about the prospect of total civil war within the Republican House conference if he is not around to smooth ruffled feathers and restore order.

He may not want to stay, but Boehner may have no choice. And in the end that might not bother him all that much. “He has a pretty healthy perspective on life,” said one GOP operative. “He likes to golf, he likes to travel. You have limited time left once you get close to 70.”

If this is true the speaker deserves our pity. Suggestions that he’s a lame duck, even though it’s not at all clear that he is, will make his last year and change trying to control the raucous tea party caucus as miserable as they could possibly be.

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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