Boehner leaves a divided Congress

Daily Editorial Board

Speaker of the House John Boehner shocked the nation last week when he abruptly announced his intention to resign from his position at the end of October. This marks the first time that a house speaker has willingly left the job since Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. resigned in 1986. 
 
Certain factions of the Republican Party are seeking to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood — Boehner, who opposed the idea, became the target of these factions’ criticism. Citing fears that continued dispute over his leadership would harm Congress as an institution, Boehner announced his resignation. After the announcement, a shutdown seems highly unlikely, as Boehner will no longer need to yield to factions’ pressure to keep his job. 
 
In the wake of Boehner’s announcement, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, praised conservative activists at the Values Voter Summit for how much they “terrify Washington.”
 
While we are relieved that Boehner’s resignation makes a shutdown unlikely, we are supremely disappointed by national leaders’ latest display of political polarization. As he is hardly a liberal Republican himself, Boehner’s mistake in his party’s eyes seems to have been nothing more than a willingness to reach across the aisle and negotiate with Democrats in a pragmatic manner. 
 
As a faction of Republicans moves the entire party further away from a moderate line, negotiation will become more difficult. Ultimately, while Boehner’s resignation marks a victory for the most conservative Republicans, it may come at a high cost to the party as a whole.