Things are looking up for the Republicans. First, John Boehner – in contrast to Nancy Pelosi’s habit of calling expensive aircraft to ferry her around, like some people call cabs — announced that flying commercial is fine for him. Good move. Good symbolism. It’s small, but Republicans are notorious for getting small things wrong.
Second, Michele Bachmann dropped out of the contest for the chair of the Republican conference. Jeb Hensarling — an impressive, wonkish conservative backed by everyone from Paul Ryan to Kevin McCarthy to Eric Cantor — will take over the job, one for which he is exceptionally well-suited. Here again, everyone played it right. Bachmann avoided a fight and the embarrassment of losing. She gave a classy endorsement of Hensarling, and he accepted it graciously. The GOP didn’t “sell out” to some mushy moderate but instead got a capable conservative in the role. And the Tea Party continues its political maturation: you have to know your stuff and not just hurl the fiercest rhetoric to earn fellow conservatives’ respect.
You think maybe this “Tea Party vs. the experienced insiders” stuff is overblown? Me too.