Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CNNOpinion: Boehner the “Puppet Master” of the House

By: Emily Chassman and Naomi Bernstein

Over the past weeks, two House Hearings have been held in order for the House Oversight Committee to question witnesses on the recent Keystone XL Pipeline scandal. Throughout these hearings, one person has stood out in terms of influence, but he was neither in a witness seat nor behind the questioners’ desk.

Speaker John Boehner seemed to control his fellow Republicans in the hearing. They looked to him for hand signals and nods and seemingly hesitated to act on their own. This is true of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the majority members of the House Oversight Committee.

Boehner used these tactics to communicate when the Republicans were accomplishing what he wanted and when they were not. It was clear that Boehner controlled when Chairman Darryl Issa and Majority Leader Cantor cut off their Democratic colleagues or allowed them to finish.

Although this tactic worked to the advantage of the Republicans in the hearing, I was disappointed to see the Republicans inability to act without their command of what members of the audience later called “the puppet master." #

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