Many reporters, hung-over conservatives and the “Twitterverse” have questioned why Boehner called on President Obama to step up with a solution to the nation’s pending “fiscal cliff,” rather than taking the lead himself.
What they do not understand is that, for Boehner, it was the only way back to a position of power for his party.
He may be taking his cues from a legendary predecessor – Tip O’Neill.
Republicans emerged from the 1980 presidential election with substantial gains; they held the White House, seized control of the U.S. Senate, and gained a staggering 33 seats in the House, although that chamber remained controlled by Democrats with O’Neill as its new Speaker.
Most headlines of the day described Democrats in the bleakest of terms, not much different from today’s headlines about Republicans.
O’Neill understood those bruising losses marked the beginning of a comeback, at least in the House. And he knew the best thing was to allow Reagan to take the lead on the economy and taxes.