Everyone now assumes that Republicans will take back the House of Representatives, and it's quickly becoming conventional wisdom that their arrival will make Obama's reelection campaign easier (even if it freezes his agenda). And, since everyone is reliving 1994 right now, the big fear is that there will be a government shutdown and Republicans will be blamed for it like in 1995. So John Boehner has been making great pains to respond to the political equivalent of "so when did you stop beating your wife?" and assure the D.C. press corps that he won't grind everything to a halt, and the more conservative young guns who want his job don't plan to, either:
Our goal is to cut the size of the government, not to shut it down. If we take the majority, the president is going to have to realize that he can’t keep ignoring the American people. They’re out there looking at what the president and Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid are doing and they’re shouting "stop" at the top of their lungs. We’re going to listen to them, and the president better, too.
I’ve said the same thing as Eric [Cantor]. Our goal is to make government smaller, not to shut it down. [Republican] Jeb Hensarling [of Texas] has a bill that would prevent a government shutdown in the event of a budget standoff. We’re going to stay focused on doing what the American people want, and what they want is less spending.
In the interview with National Journal, he also made clear that he wouldn't reinstate smoking privileges in the speaker's lobby. He's got a dangerous line to walk — some tea partiers have made it clear that they want a full-on stop. As the Republican takeover looks more and more imminent, it becomes a lot easier to raise fears about what they're up to.
A Return To Regular Order [National Journal]