John Boehner has never looked weaker than he did last night, when Republicans refused to pass Plan B. It "was hardly the first public humiliation" Boehner's troops have dealt him, writes Steve Kornacki at Salon, but "it raises some very basic questions about the House speaker's political future—like whether he even has one." This is a speaker who doesn't even have the GOP votes to pass his own plan, let alone a compromise Obama would be willing to sign.
If Boehner stays on as speaker, he's going to have to get used to passing things with Democratic votes—but that's a pretty big if. As Ezra Klein at the Washington Post points out, Boehner will need an absolute majority to win the Jan. 3 speaker election, which means that even a no-hope conservative challenger could derail him, clearing the way for, say, a consensus candidate like Eric Cantor to come forward. Kornacki, meanwhile, can imagine Boehner "just walking away, leaving the gavel for some other unfortunate soul." (Kornacki's full piece here; Klein's here.)