Tips From the Coach

Just can’t resist this story from The Hill‘s Justin Sink:

Newt Gingrich warned Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he risks losing control of his conference without a more coherant strategy.

“He can’t keep thinking the way he’s thought the last few months without having a disaster on his hands,” Gingrich, a former Speaker, said during an interview on MSNBC.

This is a man who knows both disaster and how to come back like a recurring nightmare innumerable times.

Gingrich said Boehner needed to carefully craft a legislative agenda in advance of coming high-profile negotiations on the sequester and debt ceiling.

“They could build a strategy in the House, they could think through the next 2 years,” Gingrich said. “They have total control, that’s the way the House operates.”
Gingrich pointed to the fight over Sandy relief as an example of Boehner not acting strategically. Under fire from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Peter King, Boehner later pledged a two-part vote on the Sandy relief bill.

Gingrich suggested that the House should have simply passed portions of the bill that dealt with immediate storm relief, providing political cover for a fight over the legislation’s future disaster funding.

But here’s the best part:

Gingrich also suggested that Boehner and President Barack Obama needed to hold more respect for one another in high-profile negotiations, citing even his often-tortured relationship with former President Bill Clinton as an example of how negotiations could proceed more efficiently.

As I recall, Gingrich’s relationship with Clinton culminated in Gingrich becoming a national pariah, a failed effort to remove Clinton from office, Democrats winning an extremely rare six-year-midterm election, and then Gingrich’s resignation from the Speakership and the House. Yes, it’s a fine template for Boehner.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.