NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t


In a recent profile of Boehner, Vanity Fair‘s national editor Todd Purdum wrote that [John] Boehner “was among the architects of the strategy by Republicans in both houses to resist the president at every turn, regardless of whether they thought his proposals made sense or might be good for the country.” Now that Boehner is poised to become the next speaker of the House, Purdum tells Terry Gross that the 10-term Ohio Rep. is likely to run the place with a less obstructionist hand. “I think what he did [during the last term] was hold together an unruly group with a lot of internal disagreements and he got them to vote in near lockstep with him against the president,” he says. “But I think John Boehner knows very well, because of his own experience, that it’s one thing to get a majority … [but] it’s very, very hard to retain a majority if all you do is say no. And I think he and the advisers around him know they have to put something in front of the House and in front of the American people that they can be for, as opposed to just being against.” Boehner will also face challenges within the House when the new members, many elected with Tea Party support, arrive in January. “He doesn’t pretend to be morally pure or ideologically rigid,” Purdum says. “I think some of the Tea Party elements are quite pure and John Boehner is not that. [He’s] also not a fresh face. He’s been around Washington for 20 years. He’s been in and out of the Republican leadership, first in the Gingrich era and then after he succeeded Tom DeLay. … He sort of stands at the transition between modern politics that we’re experiencing today, with social media and the Internet, and the kind of old-fashioned ward politics that predominated in the middle of the 20th century.”

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