Nowadays when President Obama is negotiating with Speaker Boehner the process is a sham, because Boehner can't speak for his own caucus. He is not a real leader. There has been a complete breakdown in the GOP House. Each Congressman thinks he's the leader and only he represents the conscience of the Republican Party.
Writes Chait [emphasis mine]:
The rational way to view these events is that Republicans have marginalized themselves. But the hard-liners see it differently. In their minds, every bill that passes is a betrayal by their leaders. They know that letting Democrats carry bills through the House has been the leadership’s desperate recourse to avoid total chaos, and since chaos is their leverage, they are now working feverishly to seal off that escape route. This year, an increasing proportion of conservative media is given over to conservative activists’ extracting pledges from Republican leaders not to negotiate with Democrats. In the wake of the tax-cut deal, Republican leaders in both houses had to pledge that they would not engage in any—to quote the ubiquitous buzzword—“backroom deals.” Since all deals get made in back rooms (there is no such thing as a front room, and leaders in Western cultures like the United States habitually transact their business in rooms), this means no negotiation at all.
As usual, we can thank talk radio and the Tea Parties for this sad turn of events: these are two most "active" and "vocal" conservative groups -- you might argue they are just two tin cans connected by the same string -- who also, unfortunately, take no responsibility for their words, and could care less if the country falls over a cliff, so long as their personal wealth is secured. In the case of talk radio jocks, the closer our country comes to the abyss, the angrier people get, the higher their ratings and book sales. Our elected representatives find themselves hostages to these zero-responsibility loudmouths and malcontents; or, they are newly-elected rep's born of the zero-responsibility Tea Parties. These extremists would burn our government down to the ground if they got their way.
By Jonathan Chait
July 21, 2013 | New York Magazine