NEW CASTLE, Pa., Sept. 28, 2015 – House Speaker John Boehner’s departure from Congress is unexpected but more than understandable given the frustration he has had dealing with the dysfunctional legislature. As is typical of Washington, the resignation of a top political leader is seen as an invitation to lay undue blame onto someone other than the responsible parties. As the leader of a Republican caucus in revolt, Boehner struggled to garner enough to pass maintenance bills and keep the federal government open.
Boehner was, however, not to blame. The far Right, tea party, and libertarian wings of his own party with their constant opposition to practical and sensible compromises were at fault.
Among those airing their unjust grievances against Boehner is chief executive Michael Needham of Heritage Action for America. Needham chastised Boehner for allegedly marginalizing those who he calls “conservatives.” He went so far as to suggest Boehner should have indulged the fringe of his party in the same way House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama rooted the political agenda of their party in the views of their liberal base. In doing so, he demonstrates the distorted role political extremes now play in government.
Not only is the House Speaker supposed to be a voice for all members of the House, a party leader is supposed to be a voice for all members of his party. The GOP is composed of moderates, conservatives and hardliner conservatives. In terms of economic philosophy, libertarian-leaning Republicans demonstrate there are even liberal elements within the Grand Old Party. The job of a party leader is to lead for all these political views, not just to cater to the extremes.
Projecting their own faults onto Democrats, one of the main criticisms of Nancy Pelosi, Senate minority leader Harry Reid, and President Barack Obama has been their alleged pursuit of a far left agenda. Conservative critics would assuredly agree that favoring the extremes of the left undermines the interests of the middle. They would probably also agree that the left wants to redefine the views of those on the far left as more moderate. In other words, they seek to impose what is a minority, i.e. abnormal, view onto the majority.
Those who are on the margins of what is considered “normal” tend to struggle in their efforts to be accepted and to have a voice. Where an all-inclusive society accepts those with differences and attempts to address the interests of minorities, those on the margin are pursuing a society where everyone should have to think and do like them. In many respects, society has gone from pressuring those on the outside to become more normal to those on the outside pressuring the majority to redefine who they are.
Moreover, the agendas of both political extremes ignore the interests of the moderate majority. The suppression of the majority, by any given means, always leads to unresponsive, overbearing government, civil unrest and social instability.
In their attempts to redefine themselves as moderates, the far right and the far left do great harm by squeezing out the middle. In short, the far left and far right are forcing their untenable political agendas onto the majority of Americans.