If I liked anything about John Boehner I’d be tempted to feel sorry for him. He has wanted on a number of occasions to make a deal with President Obama–on the debt ceiling, on unemployment insurance, on taxes–and every time he thought he had one the Tea Party balked. He wants to be the guy who made a grand bargain that advanced the broader goals of his party, but the absolutists on the extreme right have enough votes to thwart any compromise. The latest was the weekend collapse of the short-term agreement to extend the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance until Congress reconvenes in January. That won’t happen now, and his party, which increasingly is being blamed by the voters for the many failures of Congress, will take another hit in the polls. Even if the voters return control to the Democrats, an outcome that seemed impossible just a few months ago, Boehner will still have the same problem mobilizing the GOP for anything constructive. The Tea Party seats are the safest seats in the House. The irony is that it was Boehner who first saw the possibility of using the Tea Party zeal to take the House in 2010. Now he is the victim of the very passions he encouraged. As a result, he may well go down as the most ineffective Speaker in memory.