The PJ Tatler

Is Boehner our Sun Tzu?

John Boehner is getting a fair number of good reviews for his budget negotiating abilities, so I don’t need to add mine. But I will. He is a much more impressive man than I thought he was. He has a skill we could all learn from: don’t make it personal.

Most of us – myself very much included – are governed to a great degree by our anger. We also want to be the smartest person in the room. (Obama, of course, suffers severely from this, as does Gingrich.) We forget the object is to win, not to be RIGHT! So in the midst of that the proverbial forest is lost for the trees.

While I agree with Roger Kimball that what has been achieved here is but the tiniest tip of the tip of a particularly giant iceberg, I suspect Boehner may have changed the atmosphere. He has negotiated some pretty difficult shoals, using, in Kissingerian fashion, his right flank to gain more advantage from his adversaries. Has he been perfect? Of course not. But he has shown something we haven’t seen in Congress for a long time – the ability to move things forward in a good way without increasing the level of mutual distrust. He has prepared the ground for even better things to come.

I don’t know if he is a follower of Sun Tzu, but, more importantly, he acts like one.