"I've been a voice crying in the wilderness," he said. "We need more pro-business Republicans who don't wake up every morning to legislate a no-tax agenda and a [conservative] social agenda. But it won't be easy."
In the meantime, we're left with a House Republican caucus that's more conservative, more Southern, more rural and seemingly less inclined than ever to compromise with a Democratic president and a Democratic-run Senate.
To a moderate conservative like Bass, the answer is easy: Increase taxes on wealthy earners by limiting tax deductions and raising the capital gains tax rate. "You can do it without increasing the tax rate at the top," he said. "The green-eyeshade guys can work it out in no time."
But that's not the mood among most House Republicans.
"Compromise has a very small constituency — very small," South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy told the Washington Post.
In that atmosphere, it won't be easy for Boehner to forge a compromise. But he has a strong incentive to get it done in the few weeks remaining on Congress' calendar this year. There will be fewer Republicans in the House next year, but they look even less likely to bend than the current crop.