WASHINGTON — To hear House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner tell it, many of America's economic ills were cured the moment that Republicans won control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night.
"I think the most immediate thing will happen the day after the election," Boehner predicted at a July breakfast. "We're not going to raise taxes.... We're not going to have cap and trade (carbon-emission limits) on the House floor. Removing that uncertainty that exists today will do more to help America's employers than anything we do."
With Republicans gaining control of the House — effective in January — the question now is how Boehner, R-Ohio, will lead his new majority, one fueled by tea party anger and powered by a perceived mandate to shake up Congress.
The answer is, it won't be easy, political analysts agree. While Boehner maintained near-unanimity among Republicans after Democrats won the House in 2006, it's now expected that he'll have to harness a combustible mix of establishment GOP lawmakers and a new flock of no-retreat-no-surrender GOP freshmen once he takes the gavel from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
And whatever a Boehner-led House might accomplish in terms of legislation over the next two years, it's likely to face obstacles from the more deliberative Senate and from President Obama's veto pen.
"Mr. Boehner will be in some degree of difficulty in handling the factions in the majority coalition," said Carl Pinkele, a political science professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. "There are going to be rigid tea party types. Boehner will be obligated to the tea party, and to establishment Republicans who chair committees. It's a lot easier to be cohesive when you're in the minority and you have an objective and an enemy."
Boehner is a self-professed creature of the House. He's a well-tailored, 10-term lawmaker with strong ties to lobbyists. He loves to legislate and isn't averse to striking deals with Democrats, which could rub some new GOP lawmakers the wrong way and stir backroom tensions in the House. It also could encourage his potential GOP rivals to look for an opening against him.
Boehner's allies say that his even keel, forged over a sometimes rocky congressional career, will be an asset in leading the new majority.
"The biggest challenge he'll face is dealing with expectations from some of the new members and the American people, particularly the conservative base," said Michael Franc, the vice president for government relations at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research center, and a House aide during the 1994 GOP takeover.