Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Not A Bug, But An Asset

We were warned all would fall over the (fiscal) cliff and die at 12:01 January 1, with not even two or fourteen of every kind to survive, if a budget bill were not passed.

The ball dropped in Times Square, NYC, NY at exactly midnight and in a major upset, neither man nor animal perished.

Later Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the budget bill, identical to that approved the day before by the Senate, averting sequestration cuts for two months.  But while 172 Democrats voted in favor (with 16 opposed), only 85 Republicans voted to approve the measure, with 151 opposed.

This presents a problem for House Speaker John Boehner, who now has presided over a violation of the Hastert rule (named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois), in which a Republican Speaker of the House will refuse to post for a vote any legislation which is not supported by a majority of his caucus.   Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who longs to be in a dark alley, alone and preferably masked, with Boehner, voted against the measure.

Reorganization of the GOP-dominated House is upcoming and Cantor is suspected of coveting the Speaker's gavel, an aspiration he has at least a puncher's chance of fulfilling now that Boehner has exposed himself to the fury of the far right of the far right party.

But powerful incumbents have, well, the power of incumbency, with a heightened ability to leak stories to the media.  Politico reported early this morning

It was only a few days before the nation would go over the fiscal cliff, no bipartisan agreement was in sight, and Reid had just publicly accused Boehner of running a “dictatorship” in the House and caring more about holding onto his gavel than striking a deal.

“Go f— yourself,” Boehner sniped as he pointed his finger at Reid, according to multiple sources present.

Reid, a bit startled, replied: “What are you talking about?”

Boehner repeated: “Go f— yourself.”

The harsh exchange just a few steps from the Oval Office — which Boehner later bragged about to fellow Republicans — was only one episode in nearly two months of high-stakes negotiations laced with distrust, miscommunication, false starts and yelling matches as Washington struggled to ward off $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts.

On Firedoglake, DS Wright comments "Combine this odd behavior with Majority Leader Cantor’s no vote and we might have a challenge on our hands Thursday when Republicans elect a new speaker for the 113th Congress."

Sadly, no (not this sadly, no).    There probably will be a challenge to John Boehner despite this odd behavior.  This is the Party which counts among its members a northeastern governor popular with its grass roots and extraordinarily so with the media, and reasonably so with Party leaders (at least until a convention keynote speech serving as a testimonial to himself) who is singularly belligerent and bellicose.  His image already cemented and esteemed among his party's voters and the Fourth Estate, this governor went on a jaunt in July to the north Jersey shore and, fully in character, provided another of his scintillating YouTube moments:

Saying" "F _ _ _ you" to a major Democrat such as Harry Reid isn't disqualifying for a Republican.  It's a prerequisite.

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