Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Boehner, Drunk, Continues Irresponsible Game Playing


Sunday evening there was an itsy-bitsy rumor of a teensy-weensy Revolt of the Moderates. It fizzled into Peter King, Mario Diaz-Balart and Charlie Dent, 3 very electorally vulnerable Obama-district Republicans, joining 8 crackpot wing nuts to oppose Boehner's latest shut-down-the-government move. They needed 17 votes; King bragged he had 30. Counting the likes of suicide-vest lemmings Bachmann, Gohmert, Broun, Gingrey, Steve King and "Oily Joe" Barton-- who don't want a temporary shutdown but a permanent one-- there were 12 Republican NAYS.

Since then… well, there was a shutdown of government services and a tremendous amount of pressure on swing district Republicans who, unlike their Confederate counterparts, are liable to lose their seats over this in the next election.

This afternoon, the Washington Post was reporting that there are now a dozen Republicans urging Boehner to allow a vote on a clean CR and four more who may or may not be committed. This is the dozen who are supposed to be solid:
Scott Rigell (R-VA)- R+2- Obama won in 2008 & 2012
Pat Meehan (R-PA)- R+2- Obama won 53-46% in 2008
Charlie Dent (R-PA)- R+2- Obama won 52-47% in 2008
Peter King (R-NY)- R+1- Obama won in 2008 & 2012
Devin Nunes (R-CA)- R+10
Jon Runyan (R-NJ)- R+1- Obama won in 2008 & 2012
Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA)- R+1- Obama won 53-46% in 2008
Frank Wolf (R-VA)- R+2- Obama won 51-48% in 2008
Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm (R-NY)- R+2- Obama won 52-47% in 2012
Rob Wittman (R-VA)- R+6
Erik Paulsen (R-MN)- R+2- Obama won in 2008 & 2012
Lou Barletta (R-PA)- R+6
And the winers and nodders:
Shelley Moore Capitol (R-WV)- running for senator
Steve Womack (R-AR)- R+19
Dennis Ross (R-FL)- R+6
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)- D+1- Obama won in 2008 & 2012
Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) already voted against shutting down the government once when they were drunk-- and for shutting down the government 3 times, although i haven't been able to get a definitive answer of whether they were inebriated or not when they voted to shut the government down.

That still leaves 22 Republicans in swing districts where Obama either won in 2008, 2012 or in both years, still digging their heels in on the GOP shut-down-the-government agenda. Several know they are completely safe and that they have free reelection passes from either Steve Israel, like Fred Upton, or from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. And several are just too ideologically hard right to compromise, like Buck McKeon (CA), John Kline (MN), Gary Miller (CA), Paul Ryan (WI), Mike Coffman (CO), Mike Rogers (MI) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA). OK, time to consult Robert Costa at National Review, whose coverage of this mess has been shockingly clear-headed for a Republican.
The same question keeps popping up: Why doesn’t Speaker John Boehner just pass a “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government? It’s a ubiquitous query at the Capitol, and it was asked many times this afternoon as House Republicans left their closed-door conference meeting. But most Republicans, when pressed by reporters, rolled their eyes. They know what Boehner knows: A clean CR has never been an option. Peter King of New York and his allies may want one, but the leadership privately believes it’d almost certainly raise tensions within the ranks and cripple their negotiating position.

Instead, the leadership is digging in for an extended impasse with Senate Democrats. Based on my latest conversations with insiders, their plan isn’t to eventually whip Republicans toward a clean CR and back down after a few days of messaging the shutdown, as some have believed; it’s to keep fighting, and, in the process, preserve the House GOP’s fragile unity-- and maybe, if they’re lucky, win a concession from Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

But that unity, more than anything, is critical for Boehner, especially as the debt limit nears. Per his allies, his fear is, if he brings up a clean CR, he’d be seen as conceding to Reid, who’s seen as the villain of villains within the House GOP. Thirty to forty conservatives would likely revolt against such a maneuver, and so would their backers in the conservative movement. In the press, he’d likely be cheered for a profile in courage; within the House, the decision would be seen by his critics on the right as a betrayal of the highest order. There is nothing they detest more than the idea of caving, and Boehner knows that.

Now, Boehner is aware that, on paper, potentially more than 100 House Republicans would be open to a clean CR should he bring one to the floor. But the internal chaos such a move could cause could be devastating, and with a major debt-limit battle approaching, he can’t let a CR vote divide his conference. That’s also why, on Monday, he took to the floor to personally whip the rule vote for his final CR proposal. He wanted to make sure King wasn’t creating a stir with his clean-CR pitch, and he wanted to remind members that sticking together was the key to surviving a showdown.

Pushing back against Reid and force him to cut a deal is another leadership objective. Behind the scenes, they’re irritated by his daily killing of anything the House passes and are eager to make sure he shares some of the political pain from the shutdown. Many House Republicans believe Senate Democrats are only hanging with Reid on every vote because he has assured them the House GOP will break, and they think if they can incrementally put pressure on Reid’s conference, his grip could be weakened.

So, it’s no surprise those two goals-- sustained House GOP unity and a chance at breaking Reid-- were the big themes of Tuesday’s conference meeting. Boehner and House majority leader Eric Cantor decided to move forward with piecemeal appropriation bills to fund parts of the government, which are expected to pass the House on Tuesday evening. It’s something conservatives like, since the bills don’t cleanly and fully restore funding, and it’s something the leadership thinks Senate Democrats could be tempted to back.
This evening all of those piecemeal appropriation bills Boehner and Cantor were bragging they would easily pass this afternoon failed. Even with 33 Blue Dogs and New Dems crossing the aisle, they failed to pass a veteran's funding bill and also failed to pass bills to fund DC and to fund the National Parks, Boehner's cherry-picking strategy.

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At 3:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think "cool, calculated, knowing, intentional 'adhering to' our economic 'Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort' " is the much superior meme.

John Puma


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