Boehner showing other side

I’m beginning to think more kindly of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

The Ohio Republican has taken to criticizing members of his own party, particularly the more stubborn among them who refuse to move legislation forward for a number of reasons that might have little to do with the merits of whatever they’re considering.

Boehner recently mocked House Republicans for refusing to vote on immigration reform. He did so in a kind of a playful way, which reportedly did sit well with many GOP lawmakers.

Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was one of them not amused by the speaker’s tone. “I was disappointed with Speaker Boehner’s comments, and I think they will make it harder – not easier – to pass immigration reform,” Labrador said. “The vast majority of House Republicans are pro-immigration reform, and we have been working hard to achieve it.”

Boehner’s remarks were couched in a kind of silly tone in which he said of GOP members of Congress, “Ohhhh, this is too hard.”

Boehner, as near as I can tell, is one of those dreaded “establishment Republicans” who thinks government actually can do some good for Americans. He wants to move immigration reform forward but he’s been fighting tooth and nail with the tea party wing of his House caucus who just won’t budge. Some chatter in Washington is suggesting that Boehner may be growing so weary of the constant intra-party battle that he might surrender the speakership at the end of the year. Others say he’s committed to leading the House if members will allow it.

Whatever happens, the speaker is showing another — and I believe more likable — side of himself in this ongoing fight with the tea party wing of Congress.