In his column Monday, the New York Times' Paul Krugman argued that the resignation of "scorched-earth obstructionist" John Boehner is evidence that the Republican base has "gone mad," and that his successor is likely to be even more execrable than the outgoing Speaker of the House.
Krugman began by reminding us that Boehner's signature policy was "know-nothing economics" -- a call to curtail federal spending because "American families are tightening their belts, but they don't see government tightening its belt" -- which was likely pursued in bad faith, because a "bad economy was good for Republican electoral prospects[.]"
Despite his willingness to "cater to and feed the extremism" of the Tea Party, however, Boehner's leaving office for the very American reason that he didn't feed his engorged base enough. As Krugman wrote,
the controversy over Planned Parenthood that probably triggered the Boehner exit — shut down the government in response to obviously doctored videos? — might have been custom-designed to illustrate just how crazy the G.O.P.’s extremists have become, how unrealistic they are about what confrontational politics can accomplish.
But Republican leaders who have encouraged the base to believe all kinds of untrue things are in no position to start preaching political rationality.
Mr. Boehner is quitting because he found himself caught between the limits of the politically possible and a base that lives in its own reality. But don’t cry for (or with) Mr. Boehner; cry for America, which must find a way to live with a G.O.P. gone mad.