The Ohio Republican is limited in what he can do by his membership, and it is still far from clear how far the House GOP will go in supporting higher taxes.
Interest groups on the right haven’t hesitated in bashing reports of Boehner’s inevitable moves to compromise.
One tea party group, the Independence Hall Tea Party, “condemned” Boehner for even “negotiating” with the president to raise taxes on the wealthy, accusing the speaker of “capitulating” to Obama.
The Club for Growth, which on Monday announced its opposition to the Superstorm Sandy relief bill, also attacked Boehner for offering to raise taxes and increase the debt ceiling, hardly surprising since most in the conservative group almost certainly would prefer to fall off the fiscal cliff rather than raise revenue to avoid it. The gun control debate certainly isn’t likely to help Republicans over the next few months either.
Most Democrats are likely to support efforts to enact more restrictive laws, while most Republicans will oppose such moves. Obviously, the details of the proposals are important, but if the GOP appears to be the party that defends the rights of people who massacre small children and opposes any steps to address gun violence, it’s likely to further damage its standing with suburban voters.
Democrats tend to dismiss the increased visibility of Republican women, Hispanics and officeholders of color as mere window-dressing by a political party still dominated by old white men.
Even if there is some truth to that, it’s crucial for the GOP to show voters that it is, and aims to be, a more diverse party than it was. And having more officeholders from different demographic groups simply makes it easier for the Republican Party to talk with those voters and change the existing stereotype.