Republicans still control the U.S. House of Representatives, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) finds himself a moderate in a not-so-moderate world, according to one political watcher.
“Boehner is, by and large, a moderate Republican,” says Chris Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield and the university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs, “and he’s got a pretty good crew – especially the freshmen that were elected in 2010, many of them with the support of the Tea Party – who have a strong ideological perspective, which includes not wanting to compromise on anything. So, several times, even in the last two years, Boehner has wanted to work with the president on one thing or another, and his caucus would just not go along with him.”
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Mooney says the South has seen more Republicans, and the Northeast has seen fewer moderate Republicans, as the nation grows more partisan.
As for Illinois, Mooney says the five freshman Republicans who took U.S. House seats in 2010 did not have much opportunity to build a record upon which to gain re-election. That, plus the Democrat-led redistricting, helped oust three of the five in 2012.