Boehner Steps Down -- Funny, I Don't See Stalin's Name Being Invoked
September 27, 2015

As I imagine you've heard, John Boehner is resigning:

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), faced with a constant conservative rebellion, told Republicans Friday morning that he will resign at the end of October.

... Boehner’s hold on the speaker’s gavel had grown increasingly unsteady amid threats from more than 30 Republicans that they would force a no-confidence vote in his speaker’s position, which would have forced him to rely on Democratic votes in order to remain in charge....

Boehner would have resigned the speakership earlier if not for a successful conservative assault on another member of the House GOP leadership:

Boehner, 65, planned to leave Congress at the end of 2014, one of his aides said Friday morning, but returned because of the unexpected defeat of Eric Cantor.

Cantor, of course, lost a primary to Tea Party insurgent Dave Brat, who went on to win his seat.

I'm sure you've seen the video of Values Voter Summit attendees cheering at the announcement of Boehner's resignation:

Other right-wingers are also exulting:

The conservative Heritage Foundation's political arm on Friday applauded the speaker's decision, noting that Boehner "stood in the way" of conservatives....

In an op-ed for the Independent Journal Review, Red State's Erick Erickson said that Boehner had "increasingly marginalized conservatives."

... Conservative groups like Gun Owners of America and FreedomWorks applauded their supporters' efforts to oppose Boehner....

"I am really excited and ecstatic about this," [Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)] told The Gainesville Sun. "It couldn't be a better day politically for us."

And, of course:

So when does the demise of Boehner -- and of Cantor before him -- start being described in terms generally reserved for brutal dictatorships?

I'm thinking back to 2006, when Democratic voters defeated one (1) sitting Democratic senator in a primary. You'd have thought Markos Moulitsas had personally ordered tanks into the streets of Hartford, Connecticut, after Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in that primary:

... Lieberman pal and DC corporate lobbyist Lanny Davis [trolled] online through liberal comment sections in search of random anti-Semitic slurs in order to prove thoughtful progressives opposed to Lieberman were really filled with “scary hatred.” Davis also trembled theatrically for a liberal Connecticut buddy who confided that he might not return to the state to vote on primary day “out of fear for his safety.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times‘s David Brooks lashed out at the “liberal inquisition” unfolding in Connecticut, the type of phenomenon that could be understood “only [by] experts in moral manias and mob psychology.”

... [ABC's] Jake Tapper labeled Lieberman’s challenge as a “a party purge of a moderate Democrat”; a cliché repeated constantly among the talking heads. Los Angeles Times columnist Jonathan Chait ridiculed grassroots Lamont activists by suggesting “their technique of victory-via-purge is on display in Connecticut.” Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic, ... denounced the “thought-enforcers of the left” supporting Lamont....

And The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker wrote:

... what happened in Connecticut allowed the rest of the country a close glimpse of what the Democratic Party has become -- a ruthless machine of the far left....

Their triumph in bringing down Lieberman may prove to be their undoing in November, as well as in the 2008 presidential election. Here's why: Americans may not like the war, or the deficit, or the Bush administration's immigration stance, or pick-your-grievance. We enjoy a surfeit of issues to divide us. But Americans also share a reflexive resistance to Stalinist tactics.

In fact, Democrats won back the Senate (and the House) in November. The senator who put Democrats over the top was a centrist former Republican, Jim Webb. Also caucusing with the Democrats would be Joe Lieberman -- who, it turned out, wasn't strung up in the town square and left to hang as a lesson to would-be traitors, but was returned to the Senate by voters in the general election, and who agreed to caucus with his old party, after being endorsed by, among others, the party's next presidential nominee, Barack Obama.

That was called "Stalinist" and a "purge." So why aren't those terms being used for the defenestrations of Cantor and Boehner, which actually resemble a Stalinist purge? Will any political insider use that sort of language? And if not, why not?

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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