House Speaker John Boehner, like tempered steel, shaped by tea party
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, a large animal vet from Gainesville who has been in office only nine months, has a unique way of capturing the forces bearing down on House Speaker John Boehner:
"You know how you make tempered steel? You put it in a fire, you beat it. You put it in a fire, you beat it. You mold it and meld it. That's what's happened to him."
Boehner, who in March said he would not link a fight over the health care law to a stop-gap budget bill, has done just that, leading to the first government shutdown in 17 years, now in its fifth day.
"I have to give Mr. Boehner and the leadership team a lot of credit," said Yoho. "I've seen an attitude change. They are listening to members."
Since becoming speaker in 2011, Boehner has struggled with an assertive band of hard-core conservatives, most of them tea party newcomers like Yoho, who have pushed the GOP to the right, demanding deep budget cuts and absolute opposition to Obamacare.
"He withstood the pressure for a long time. He finally has agreed to the outspoken minority of his conference. And they're pretty much in charge right now," said Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores.
There are other protagonists in the shutdown drama — Sen. Ted Cruz, the rabble-rousing Republican from Texas, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the wily Democrat of Nevada and President Barack Obama — but it is Boehner, a cigarette-loving, perma-tanned Ohioan, who is feeling it the most.
Full story here.