Sunday, October 11, 2015

GOP Extremists About To Be Hoist On Their Own Petard?


Mainstream conservatives in Congress are begging Boehner to make a deal with Nancy Pelosi to pass some of the urgent items on the national agenda, particularly lifting the debt ceiling. Their attitude is "screw the assholes in the Liberty Caucus; they brought this on themselves." Long Island Republican Peter King said Boehner can make these kinds of bold moves now because only a caretaker Speaker now and "doesn't have to worry about losing votes." And notice that of the 3 sponsors of this letter to Boehner asking him to do something about runaway gun violence, 2 of them are Republicans!
Dear Speaker Boehner,

Gun violence affects every District and every community in America. We were all shocked and saddened by the senseless deaths of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy and have vowed that we would not let this happen again. Sadly, since then, America has been witness to at least 53 mass shootings. Every day in this country, more than thirty people die as a result of gun violence. This does not even address the individual victims of domestic violence or other vicious crimes that destroy families and communities.

Our children should be safe in schools. People should be allowed to worship without threat of violence. Walking the neighborhoods of our cities should not be a high risk activity. It is a long time past that Congress addresses this national epidemic. We must ensure that guns do not make it into the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. We can do this without infringing on Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

We call on you to bring to the Floor legislation that can protect innocent lives while safeguarding the rights of law abiding gun owners. No legislation will stop every tragedy, but passing commonsense gun laws will at least stop some. It is the least we can do to honor the memory of those we've lost to gun violence and prevent that list from growing.
There's a sense of irony that the extremists who pushed Boehner out are now making it easier for him to ignore them, cast partisan considerations to the wind and just do what's good for the American public. Jason Chaffetz, orginally elected as a teabagger by ousting a long-time, mainstream conservative, Chris Cannon, headed up the Republican-dominated Committee charged with investigating the far-right's fake Planned Parenthood "scandal." The far right wasn't happy with what the investigation turned up and now they want another committee to give them the outcome they're demanding. Does Boehner have any incentive to play these games with these crazy people any longer?

For Republicans reality always stings

Amid speculation that these extremists ended Boehner's career because he didn't hate Obama enough, or wasn't willing to sacrifice the country on the right-wing's alter of Obama hatred, mainstream conservatives are starting to deal with the reality of turning to Pelosi to make up for the defections from their own political fringe. Charlie Dent (R-PA) is even threatening the extremists with the possibility of going to the Democrats to help them elect a Speaker. "In order to pass any bill around this place, everybody knows we need to assemble a bipartisan coalition. I suspect at some point, if we can't get 218 Republicans to vote for a speaker candidate, we'll have to assemble a bipartisan coalition to elect a speaker."

So now that the extremists, nihilists and Confederates have pushed mainstream conservatives Boehner and McCarthy out and are even working to destroy GOP leaders as far right as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, they've created a situation that may make them wish they had never heard of Ted Cruz. Boehner can't leave until they elect a new Speaker, which seems more and more impossible by the day. What leverage do these radicals have left? Steve Stivers, an Ohio conservative but not an anarchist: "Sometimes the dog catches the car and doesn't know what to do."

"While we go through this process, we've got to continue to address the people's priorities. This institution cannot grind to a halt," Boehner told Republicans Friday morning in a closed-door session. "It is my hope-- and indeed it is my plan-- for this House to elect a new speaker before the end of October. But at the end of the day, that's really up to the people in this room."

Excerpts of Boehner's remarks came from an official who was in the room. Not authorized to disclose them publicly, the official requested anonymity.

Facing a fall of fiscal fights with the Obama administration, Boehner has said he doesn't want to leave a "dirty barn" for his successor. The toughest item, by far, is legislation that must pass by early November or so to increase the government's borrowing cap so it won't default on its bills. Last year, Boehner orchestrated a debt ceiling increase by relying on just 28 Republicans and 193 Democrats-- the exact opposite of the way the House is usually run.

Then there are ongoing talks about easing spending curbs that have frozen the budgets of both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

"John is going to try to clean the barn up as best he can," said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. "He's not going to clean the whole thing, but we can probably dispose of the debt ceiling. I hope we can reach a budget agreement."

Boehner's penchant for relying on Democrats to make up for tea party defections on legislation like a 2013 tax increase and last month's temporary government funding bill got him in trouble with the right. There's little they can do if he follows the same strategy on the debt limit and a budget deal.

"It is ironic how smart John Boehner's looking," said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "Frankly, all this talk of a fresh new face sounds very sweet on the surface, but we're not electing a student council president. His stock rises with the prospects of an alternative and the steadiness of his hand, the clarity of his positions-- whether you like them or not-- and the fact he's not prone to panic. It's all looking really good right about now."

Conservatives suffered a setback on Friday when emboldened GOP moderates orchestrated a rarely successful petition drive to force legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank onto the floor agenda later this month. The roster of more than three dozen GOP signatories included many Boehner loyalists.

The 13-term lawmaker not only supports reviving the bank, which helps overseas sales of U.S. goods, he called an additional minutes-long House session on Monday that, under the arcane rules governing such petition efforts, sped up the House vote on the measure to the end of October rather than into November.

His office says that wasn't the motivation for the unexpected pro forma session.

A Boehner aide noted that the speaker has said he won't change his way of approaching this fall's treacherous set of issues. For instance, Boehner marched ahead last month with legislation to temporarily fund the government and rejected tea party calls to "defund" Planned Parenthood at the risk of a government shutdown.

Typically on tough votes it often looks like many GOP lawmakers cast "no" votes-- to insulate themselves against criticism from conservative talk radio and Washington-based outside groups-- while secretly rooting for the legislation to pass.

The crowd that votes "no" but roots for bills to pass, however, appreciates it when Boehner turns to Democrats to extricate them from a tough spot.

"That's what we're dealing with: Hope yes, vote no," said Dent. "Same thing will happen on the debt ceiling, same thing will happen on a budget agreement."

Boehner's political maturity is a commodity that's sometimes in short supply in the House, making some Republicans wistful.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said the speaker's election should be postponed until next year, with Boehner remaining as speaker in the meantime.

"I hope he can stay-- if he's willing to forgo some of his golf games and time with his grandbaby," she said, adding that she thinks Boehner would agree to serve into next year.
Certainly not what the Liberty Caucus misfits or their allies at Hate Talk Radio wanted or expected. But absolutely what they deserve.

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At 2:22 PM, Blogger Theodore Wirth said...

Did you ever think that you would support Boehner? I didn't. The end is nigh.

At 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we can't get 218 Republicans to vote for a speaker candidate, we'll have to assemble a bipartisan coalition to elect a speaker." Hey, Charlie, screw that. If you want Democrats to elect a new Speaker they must vote for a Democrat. If you are tired of the nihilists who control your party, switch parties. It's not our job to get your ass out of a crack. If Boehner wants to be a real Speaker, let's drop the Hastert rule, get shit to the floor and hold a vote. Lonesome John can get back to the 19th hole when this Congress is finished.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger tamtam said...

Well, the GOP is imploding. Good riddance to them


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