Whether the following is the whole story or not, it seems to be basically unassailable:

[Speaker John] Boehner, who capped his career with Thursday’s address by Pope Francis, met with a handful of the most conservative Republicans after the papal address to lay out his plan to fund the government. But those rebels continued to agitate and threaten to force a vote at sometime in the near future to vacate his speakership.

A believer in the institution, Boehner decided to walk away on his own terms rather than relying on Democratic support or becoming the first speaker to lose the gavel midterm.

I somewhat anticipated this in my recent piece “Bring the Republican Schism to the Fore,” in which I made two prescient observations. First, I said:

In this environment, there isn’t much about the mood of the Banausinnen that is compatible with the leadership of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, so it’s natural that the Republican congressional leadership should succumb sooner rather than later to some kind of vicious political challenge from within.

For the Speaker, this could be sooner than most people think.

I wrote that two days ago.

I also wrote, “Boehner would resign rather than preside over…a coup against his own party,” by which I meant that he wouldn’t consent to give away committee chairs or other leadership roles to Democrats in return for their support in him keeping his gavel as Speaker of the House.

The immediate news here, as reported by the Washington Post, is that Boehner traded his own scalp for the ability to fund the government.

Following Boehner’s announcement, House Republicans said there was agreement to pass a clean spending bill to avert a government shutdown. Several members of the Freedom Caucus, the conservative group which led the revolt against Boehner’s leadership, said they will now support the spending bill without demands to defund Planned Parenthood attached to it.

“The commitment has been made that there will be no shutdown,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.).

In other words, what remains of sanity prevailed here, just for the moment, but the cost was obviously high and possibly catastrophic.

The rumor is that Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California will replace Boehner but I will begin to believe that when I see it. There’s basically nothing about McCarthy that would alter the impasse between the sane people and the lunatics. It would certainly represent an empty victory for the conservative nut-jobs who forced Boehner out, and either McCarthy would have to run things much differently or he’d be in Boehner’s shoes within weeks.

More on that later…

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com