It's been a miserable week for House Speaker John Boehner. The Republican majority slogged through two failed floor votes, and is facing a damaging rebellion on spending cuts from the right wing of the party. Not only that, but a Republican congressman resigned after his adulterous instincts led him into a humiliating "sexy" photo scandal. "We're not going to be perfect every day," Boehner told reporters, after votes to extend the Patriot Act and retrieve money from the U.N. surprisingly failed. With feuds over the budget and the debt ceiling looming, can Boehner unite Republicans? (Watch Boehner's CPAC remarks)
Regaining control won't be easy: "Somehow, the Republican leaders failed to read the tea leaves of the Tea Party," which voted against "two relatively easy bills" in large numbers, says Elaine S. Povich at AOL News. Boehner's leadership team convinced many of these new lawmakers to run for office in the first place, but "recruiting is not the same as playing the game." If Boehner can't marshal the troops, "the House is going to be in disarray for many months to come."
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Boehner will overcome these early stumbles: I'm betting these are just "rookie mistakes," says Chris Weigant at The Huffington Post. Boehner will get better at counting votes, and he'll learn to slow down to ensure a bill has the support it needs before moving ahead. And while Tea Party rebels may temporarily defect, it's unlikely they'll unite with Democrats for long.
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The worst is yet to come: The Republican revolts of this week are "refreshing," and a sign of things to come, says Gloria Bolger at CNN. The party's ranks are now stuffed with "independent thinkers" who came to Washington to "do something, leaders be damned." Boehner's going to have trouble keeping this lot under control as the debt ceiling debate approaches. "If you think Republicans have been fractious this past month, just wait."
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