Alan Fram, Associated Press, Reports:
WASHINGTON — It says a lot about House Speaker John Boehner’s rough 2013 that even friends debate when the low point hit.
Some say it was Jan. 3, the first day of the 113th Congress. With the Ohio Republican’s family watching from the House gallery, a dozen defiant GOP lawmakers refused to back his bid to be re-elected speaker. The mini-rebellion fell short but it delivered an embarrassing rebuke from conservatives.
To others the nadir came in September. That’s when Republicans ignored his advice and embraced a politically disastrous strategy of partially shutting down the government in a futile effort to force repeal of President Barack Obama’s prized health care law.
Boehner, 64, of West Chester, still has serious problems with tea party conservatives inside and outside Congress that limit his power. But many say he stabilized his standing among his Republicans in the final weeks of 2013 and that he ends the year stronger than ever with them.
“The speaker started out, like the Republican Party, really in a ditch,” said Ron Bonjean, a GOP consultant and former congressional leadership aide. By the time the year was over, Republican lawmakers learned, “If they listen to him, he can guide them correctly.”