John Boehner was thinking about yoga this morning.
“It’s great for my back,” he said Sunday in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation. “I’ve had back problems for 50 years.”
Boehner said he hasn’t been as diligent about practicing yoga lately, but he will soon have more time to fit in a few sun salutations. On Friday, the congressman from Ohio shocked Washington and members of both parties—even his closest friends—when he announced that he would step down as speaker of the House and leave Congress altogether at the end of October. He walked into that day’s press conference singing "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” a lighthearted start for a man who some say sacrificed his career for the sake of the House and its governing party.
Boehner’s departure marks the end of a nearly five-year-long tug-of-war between the House’s establishment wing and its Tea Party conservatives. As Norm Ornstein wrote this morning:
It was inevitable that these two forces—radicals flexing their muscles, demanding war against Obama from their congressional foxholes, and leaders realizing that a hard line was a fool’s errand—would collide violently. … Boehner would have been placed at the right end of his party a couple of decades ago. But as a realist operating in the real world of divided government and separation of powers, he became a target within his own ranks.
Rumors that the speaker would resign or be ousted were not uncommon, especially after a historic number of his colleagues voted no in his reelection in January. The most recent fight—over Planned Parenthood—threatened to shut down the government at the end of this month. But now that he’s on his way out, Boehner doesn’t have to please the conservatives demanding language to defund the organization in the legislation that will keep the government running. And the chances of passing a “clean” bill look good so far.