Thursday, May 02, 2013

Does Your Heart Break For The Congressional Republican Leadership?


Yesterday there was a flurry of speculation that Texas' radical right extremist Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada and is ineligible to serve, would run for president in 2016. Intensely disliked and mistrusted in his own caucus, there are probably plenty of Republicans-- cognizant that no one is going to beat Hillary Clinton anyway-- who would be happy to see Cruz run, lose and be gone from the Senate. But 2016 isn't going to be a good year for Senate Republicans anyway. They have a lot of vulnerable seats to defend. A Ted Cruz candidacy would positively kill them.

Oh, Dick Shelby (R-AL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Boozman (R-AR) and whichever crackpots they run in Oklahoma and South Carolina are probably safe. But there is likely to be an open Republican seat in Arizona (McCain) and Cruz on the top of the ticket is likely to shave between 5 and 10 points off these incumbents:
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Cruz on top of the ticket could also jeopardize reelection prospects for Rand Paul (R-KY), David Vitter (R-LA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dan Coats (R-IN). So... yeah, go, Ted, go! It could be historic.

Meanwhile, the House Republicans-- who would also suffer, though less so because of gerrymandered districts-- are undergoing a painful civil war between conservatives and neo-fascists. Jake Sherman at Politico would rather just describe it as chaos. The zombies are restless.
The GOP leadership is dealing with an unprecedented level of frustration in running the House, according to conversations with more than a dozen aides and lawmakers in and around leadership. Leadership is talking past each other. The conference is split by warring factions. And influential outside groups are fighting them.

The chaos has led to a sense of stalemate for House Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2011.

“There’s so much stuff happening up here that sometimes, you don’t pay attention to some of the more intricate details of something until it comes right to you,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a GOP whip from Georgia.

Speaker John Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy are plagued by a conference split into two groups. In one camp are stiff ideologues who didn’t extract any lesson from Mitt Romney’s loss and are only looking to slash spending and defund President Barack Obama’s health care law at every turn. In the other are lawmakers who are aligned with Cantor, who is almost singularly driving an agenda which is zeroed in on family issues.

Boehner seems more focused on passing big pieces of legislation like hiking the debt ceiling and extending government funding, sometimes drawing flak for having to rely on Democrats to move these bills over the finish line.

The House simply isn’t interested in the agendas being pushed by the president and Democratic Senate. Most Republicans aren’t looking for a big legislative push on gun control. GOP leaders are skeptical that they can arrive at a framework to negotiate a budget agreement with Senate Democrats. And tax reform and an immigration overhaul, while broadly supported, are still seen as long shots.

Members of leadership have trouble staying on the same page. Cantor is anxious to move on his agenda, but McCarthy needs to gather support in a House Republican Conference that’s filled with lawmakers constantly divided on leadership’s priorities.

...House Republicans have had worse days-- they had to abandon a tax plan pushed by Boehner in December, which was followed by a gaggle of rank-and-file members trying to prevent Boehner from serving a second term as speaker.

But the continued internal struggles illustrate a miniature picture of chaos. Despite all of House Republicans’ efforts to plot, plan and strategize to shift a divided Washington in their favor, hurdles have been difficult to avoid.

...With all the moving pieces, flubs on the floor and leadership intrigue, Chocola says he wonders why there are no challenges to the current leadership structure.

“I just think that the more kind of interesting thing to me is that even though there’s been some hiccups, there’s been violations of the Hastert rule, pulling things like [Boehner’s tax plan], to this, there’s like no opposition,” he said. “There’s no one that you hear about that will challenge current leadership. It’s assumed everyone will go up a step with Cantor and McCarthy. I’m not instigating it-- you never hear of any rumblings to the leadership.”
Steve Benen makes the case that it's even worse than that-- broken and beyond repair. "It's ugly," he wrote, "and it's getting worse... Clearly House Republicans are divided against themselves. There's no meaningful leadership; no interest in cooperation or compromise; and post-policy nihilism rules the day. The demise of Cantor's health care bill was a reminder that House Republicans will reject their own party's policy ideas with nearly the same speed as they'll reject Democratic ideas. For Beltway pundits, the inability of House Republicans to act like a governing caucus is partially President Obama's fault -- if only he'd schmooze with them, form personal relationships, and act like a character in an Aaron Sorkin movie, maybe these radicalized nihilists would be more likely to get something done. But all available evidence suggests the collapse of the House GOP is out of Obama's hands. The House Republican conference is simply broken."

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At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree...It doesn't help when there are so many Fascist Types among their Rank and that conservative media makes them look even worse.


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