After the applause died down, Boehner told his leadership team to “be careful” and “pay attention” to the staff members stuffed into the room. With a hard glare, Boehner said that in the future he wanted to economize the staff presence. Before formally seeking a 5 percent reduction in all congressional staff budgets, he wanted a deeper cut among the hangers-on present when his team met to plot and execute its strategy.
If it sounds awfully fastidious and controlling from a man stuck in the opposition for the past four years—a man who might be expected to exult in his victory, throwing caution to the wind—it should. Boehner has planned this moment for years, and he is not going to blow his speakership on cathartic but pointless expressions of ideology (even if that is what some of the bomb-throwing freshmen have in mind).
He wants to get laws passed, and he knows that doing so is a precarious business. If they will jeopardize his chance at repealing health care or cutting taxes, he won’t tolerate frivolous investigations that alienate voters just for the sake of humiliating Democrats. And he won’t overstate his case.