This morning, House Speaker John Boehner announced he'd resign from Congress. And here's how the Value Voters Summit in Washington, DC — a gathering of conservative Christian activists — greeted the news, according to Steve Peoples of the Associated Press:
Rubio to Value Voters: "Just a few mins ago, Speaker Boehner announced he will be resigning." HUGE ovation. Many standing.— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) September 25, 2015
You can watch the reaction for yourself here:
This month, Boehner had been facing pressure from pro-life activists to fight to defund Planned Parenthood. He supported doing so in theory, but believed such a push now would lead to a government shutdown that would be disastrous for the country and his party. But activists didn't want to hear it, and blamed him for not fighting hard enough — hoping that victory could have been achieved with a tougher, more confrontational approach.
Indeed, Boehner has become despised by conservative activists, having faced ceaseless pressure from them on a whole range of issues over his five-year speakership. He was blasted from the right during the fights over spending and the debt ceiling in 2011, during the attempt to defund Obamacare that ended up shutting down the government in 2013, and during Congress's failed attempt to block Obama's Iran deal this year. He's constantly had to deal with beliefs among conservatives that he wasn't fighting hard enough. This ceaseless criticism made Boehner's job extremely unpleasant for him, as he told Politico in an interview this month.
Boehner views himself as having pushed for the most conservative policies that could practically be achieved given Democratic control of the presidency. But activists like those attending the Values Voters Summit despise him as a weak sellout who should be replaced. Now perhaps they'll get to find out whether a more confrontational speaker could really get more accomplished — or whether Boehner has been right all along.