Commentary: This Ohioan Feeling Pride, Pity and Contempt for John Boehner

Yahoo Contributor Network

Yahoo asked Ohioans living in the state's 8th congressional district to grade their U.S. House representative, Speaker John Boehner, during the government shutdown. Here's one perspective.

COMMENTARY | John Boehner is a dangerous man. Desperation makes a man dangerous, and Boehner is desperate.

The Speaker of the House is playing Russian roulette with the American economy in an effort to appease a minority of his majority in the House of Representatives and to hold onto his speakership. I have lived in Ohio's 8th congressional district for 16 years, and I am the rare Democrat here. When Boehner rose to speaker, I did feel some sense of pride in having a fellow Buckeye and a neighbor from West Chester in that role.

But with the rise of the tea party within the Republican Party -- and particularly within the House of Representatives -- I began to feel a bit sorry for Boehner. I've thought him a reasonable man who knows how things get done in Washington, D.C. Trying to manage his caucus now, though, is like trying to herd cats. Not only do tea party representatives not understand how things in Washington work, they don't care if they work at all. Speaker Boehner is now caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

I am torn between feeling sorry for the man and feeling contempt for his blatant ambition, which is single-handedly putting the nation at risk. He could call a vote to end the stalemate today, and that would probably pass a clean continuing resolution and a clean debt limit, ending the shutdown and moving us back from the edge of another fiscal cliff.

But to do so he would have to violate the Hastert Rule, risk the wrath of the tea party and possibly lose his role as speaker. He could be putting his job as a congressman on the line as well, as he would risk someone running to the right of him in 2014's GOP primaries.

If he called for a vote, however, he would be a hero in my book, and I'd even consider switching over to vote for him in the primary.

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