Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.), Speaker from 1977 to 1987, often said he built majorities with like-minded lawmakers from both parties. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Speaker from 1995 to 1998, made sure that GOP moderates were consulted. Should Boehner muster the courage to use the bully gavel to save the nation's economy, his legislative legerdemain would become studied in the history books.
Robert Weiner, a national Democratic strategist, was a senior spokesman in the Clinton White House and for Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) and Ed Koch (D-N.Y.). Sadiq Ahmed is senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates.