Should Obama win reelection and the GOP keep control of the House, Stan Collender wonders how Boehner will balance avoiding the fiscal cliff with retaining his position as Speaker:
Boehner will be on a very short leash during the lame duck and will have to continually prove to his tea party wing that he merits its support. Unless Democrats are willing to do something almost unimaginable and vote for Boehner, he cannot remain as speaker without the tea party wing’s votes.
Collender thinks this might drive Boehner to extremes:
Boehner has already shown that he’s more than willing to take positions to accommodate his tea party wing so he can stay as speaker. For example, his fire-and-brimstone speech in May when he insisted that he would not allow the debt ceiling to be raised again unless federal spending was cut by the same number of dollars the borrowing limit is raised – as basic a tea party position as there is — was clearly an effort to show that faction of his party that he was one of them and totally worthy of their support. There’s no reason to think Boehner won’t do that and more again.
This scenario makes a deal to avert the fiscal cliff far less likely than anyone is assuming. Indeed, if the White House doesn’t cave to GOP demands, it almost seems as if Boehner will have to let the fiscal cliff happen to keep his job.