Friday, December 13, 2013

If You Think You're Bored Of The Civil War In The Republican Party Stories Now, Just Wait… They've Barely Started


Boehner and the Republican Establishment are finally fighting back against the venal forces of far right-wing populism-- i.e., the increasingly unpopular Tea Party, racists, Koch-brother-brand-Birchers, Hate Talk Radio hucksters and the rest of the menagerie. The menagerie served it's purpose-- ruining Obama's presidency-- and now it's time for the Republican Establishment to get serious. As Krugman pointed out in the NY Times yesterday, "there was a brief, modest spurt in spending associated with the Obama stimulus-- but it has long since been outweighed and swamped by a collapse in spending without precedent in the past half century." For the right: Mission Austerity Accomplished.

Last night the House passed the Ryan-Murray Budget, 332-94, with only 62 Republicans abandoning their party leaders. Boehner pulled out all the stops and went on attack against the teabaggers leading up to it. Boehner, for the first time, publicly "lashed out at conservative groups opposing the Paul Ryan-Patty Murray budget deal, arguing that they do so even before they saw the specifics. 'They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals,' Boehner told reporters." Chuck Todd at NBC News:
Call it Boehner’s revenge for the shutdown. To our eyes, this has been brewing since early last fall, when these same conservative groups and politicians took Boehner and other House leaders down a road (the government shutdown) that you could tell they didn’t want to travel (and in fact had promised NOT to travel). But this time, Boehner stood up. And here’s the thing-- the Ryan-Murray deal represents the bare minimum what Republicans can support, and Boehner’s reaction seemed to be: “If you conservative groups can’t be for the bare minimum, what can you be for when our party has to govern at least one chamber of Congress?” The question, however, is if Boehner standing up to these groups is just the beginning. (Will he do the same on immigration next year? On other issues?) Or is it a one-time thing? As New York Magazine’s Jon Chait writes, “So the deal will probably pass. But conservative opposition signals that deal-making of any kind is painful enough that Republicans shouldn’t dare try it again.”

Knowing when to declare victory: This is the aspect that frustrates so many non-Tea Party Republicans. They have the Democrats agreeing to the premise of “what should we cut,” not “what should we spend.” Sure, conservatives think Democrats aren’t as fervent about cutting spending as they are, duh! But the fact they have Democrats agreeing to look for spending cuts is a fundamental philosophical chance right now. The conservative movement just doesn’t know how to declare victory; it’s akin to caring more about the margin of victory in a football game than simply the victory itself.
The outside groups who fund themselves and pay their fat salaries and stoke their fatter egos based on pushing ever into more extreme territory, are not leaving it at that. They are striking back at Boehner and making the whole process as uncomfortable for him and his allies as they can. Tea Party primaries that won't defeat GOP leaders like McConnell, Cornyn, Cochran and Boehner himself, will cost some of them plenty of money and energy they would rather direct against Democrats. McConnell, particularly, will be too busy fighting off a combination of a well-funded teabagger and a plausible Democrat to devote much in the way of resources towards engaging in any Senate battles around the country that would help him become Majority Leader in 2015. And the push back from these self-serving groups on the far right is amping up.
"Speaker Boehner's real problem here isn't with conservative groups like FreedomWorks, it's with millions of individual Americans who vote Republican because they were told the GOP was the party of small government and fiscal responsibility," Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, said in a statement.

Kibbe went on: "Once again Republicans, led by John Boehner, are working with Democrats to increase spending yet again on the taxpayers' tab while promising 'savings' down the road. We know how this movie ends. How can leadership credibly promise spending cuts later, after agreeing to a plan that rolls back the sequester savings promised two debt increases ago? There's a predictable pattern here."

…FreedomWorks-- along with the like-minded Club For Growth, Heritage Action and Americans For Prosperity-- began speaking out against the budget deal, based on reports about what was in it, before it was officially announced Tuesday. They all oppose the final agreement and are pushing lawmakers to vote against it. In response to Boehner's remarks, the groups made clear they would carry on with their fight.

"Americans are deeply concerned about the direction of the country," Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, told TPM when asked to respond to Boehner's remarks. "Over the next few days, lawmakers will have to explain to their constituents, many of whom are our members, what they've achieved by increasing spending, increasing taxes and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken. That will be a really tough sell back home. Meanwhile, we'll continue fighting to achieve our goal, which is create an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish."

Club For Growth issued a statement in response to Boehner's remarks, but didn't mention him by name, and instead lit into the budget agreement he and Ryan are vouching for.

"We stand with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, members of the Republican Study Committee and every other fiscal conservative who opposes the Ryan-Murray deal," Chris Chocola, the group's president. "After carefully reviewing the budget deal, on which we never commented until it was complete, we determined that it would increase the size of government. We support pro-growth proposals when they are considered by Congress. In our evaluation, this isn't one of those."

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At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm exceedingly bored with stories of "the imminent collapse of the Republican Party" which only clearly reveal the Democrats as the collapsed party.

John Puma


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