House Speaker John Boehner’s favorability rating is slipping to new lows among the American public. But the current fiscal standoff with Democrats and President Barack Obama is working in his favor, at least among his conference, said former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“I think Boehner is probably stronger now than he was three months ago inside the conference,” Gingrich told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” "I think every conservative who had doubts about Boehner has watched Boehner now very resolutely keep moving the system down the road and stand by the values that they told him they cared about. And I think John is probably closer to his conference today than he was three months ago.”
The federal government shutdown has now moved into its 13th day, and the U.S. is four days from the deadline to increase the debt ceiling and extend the nation’s borrowing ability, on pain of default.
The struggle that began with efforts by Republicans to repeal, defund or at least undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act -- Obama’s signature first-term policy achievement -- has now shifted to fights on spending caps.
As in previous budget battles with Obama, Republicans are getting the larger share of the blame, polls show. And another thing happens as well: the perennial threat to Boehner's speakership raises its ugly head. That’s because he often appears unable to control the unruly tea party faction within the House Republican caucus. But he is refusing to sell out the faction this time around, and is instead steering a ship whose navigation has been locked by the far right.
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If principle is at the heart of this battle, then Boehner is upholding the conservative standard.
So, is the speaker at risk of losing his gavel?
“That’s not even being talked about,” Rep. Jim Jordan, a fellow Ohioan, said on "Fox News Sunday." “We’re focused on addressing the underlying debt problem.”
Jordan said Republicans are staying united on their core principles of less government, less spending and keeping taxes low.