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Things were so bad for Speaker John Boehner Thursday night, support for his Plan B tax bill so diminished, the limits of his power with his own party laid bare, that he stood in front of the House Republican Conference and recited the Serenity Prayer.
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Boehner nearly cried.
The Ohio Republican accepted that he couldn’t change the minds of his House Republican Conference. He tried to convince them that, facing tough negotiations with President Barack Obama over the fiscal cliff, he needed them on his side — and he fell short. With that, Boehner — a man who has clawed back from the political ledge to arrive at the top rung of power — saw perhaps the lowest moment in his speakership.
It was supposed to be a moment of strength, a way to drag Obama and the Democrats toward them in the high-stakes fiscal cliff negotiations that have Washington teetering on the brink. Instead, it showed the world that either Boehner couldn’t bring 217 of his own members to his side, or they were unwilling to be led by him in this fight.