On Saturday morning, the major broadcast networks were at it again in bashing the “far-right” and “unruly hardliners” in the House Republican caucus for causing Speaker John Boehner’s impending resignation announced Friday that CBS added could hurt the party’s chances in 2016 if the “infighting” continues.
CBS This Morning: Saturday had two segments on “Boehner’s bombshell” with correspondent Julianna Goldman first reporting that the Ohio Republican became Speaker after the 2010 midterms but spent his tenure “strugg[ling] with a fractured and more conservative Republican caucus” that currently are “insisting on defunding Planned Parenthood or shutting down the government.”
Goldman explained that “[h]is announcement brought cheers” from those gathered at the Values Voters Summit in Washington with President Obama telling reporters at the White House that “he was surprised by Boehner’s decision and praised the Republican speaker even though they’ve been on the opposite end of political fights.”
Before CBS News senior political editor Steve Chaggaris joined co-host Anthony Mason and Vinita Nair for analysis, Goldman concluded that, now: “Boehner can work more freely with Democrats and he won’t have to worry about the members on the far right who have threatened his job.”
Chiding conservatives while also spinning a gloomy picture for the larger GOP, Chaggaris remarked that “[t]hese hardline, tea party conservatives were threatening this government shutdown in the Planned Parenthood fight” in addition to the push to oust Boehner.
He also predicted that “you are going to see some short of short-term budget agreement” despite “the right wing” threat “to hold that up in order to force a defunding of Planned Parenthood.”
Pouring cold water on the frontrunner to replace Boehner in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Chaggaris fretted that there’s “a deep distrust of the establishment by these hard line conservatives and tea party members” because they “were elected to shake things up, buck the establishment and they may not stand by and rubber stamp somebody like McCarthy at a time when the Republicans hold a majority in both the House and the Senate.”
Tying the news to the 2016 field, Chaggaris suggesting that “[t]he infighting really isn’t ideal for them” as “[t]he anti-establishment outside flames are already being fanned by the 2016 candidates.” Chaggaris capped off his time by touting Boehner’s departure as bad news for the party in the presidential race:
The question is will this infighting result in such polarization that absolutely nothing gets done on the Hill? And if so, as the majority in both houses, the Republicans and the eventual Republican nominee will have to explain that to voters.
ABC’s Good Morning America had a full report and a news brief on the breaking story from the Friday with weekend co-host Paula Faris determining that this story “speaks to the increasing political polarization and gridlock in D.C.”
Reporting from Capitol Hill, correspondent Mary Bruce emphasized she had “never seen him so relieved” in announcing something that comes “[a]fter years of turmoil and under intense pressure from conservatives” and “constant rebellion from the far right.”
Bruce also reflected on the well-circulated belief that Pope Francis’s visit to Congress on Thursday had an effect on the devout Catholic’s decision to leave Congress on October 30: “An emotional day spent at the Pope's side, the Holy Father inspiring him to put aside his own interests and do what was best for the country.”
Despite his “blunt talk,” Bruce added that Boehner will always be known for “the famous waterworks” but also for having fought “unruly hard line conservatives who felt he was too willing to compromise and were threatening to oust him.”
NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker filed the Boehner story for NBC’s Today and predicted that “with or without Boehner, Washington will likely remain a sharply divided place” after it “sparked cheers from some rank-and-file Republicans who were trying to oust him.”
She also told viewers that: “Now, even if Boehner averts a shutdown for now, there are still big battles looming, including over the highway funding bill and debt limit fights that Boehner will likely be happy to sit out this time around.”