Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Profile In Something

Peter Drucker of the mainstream, but conservative, Washington Examiner reported Tuesday

House Republicans who opposed the defunding of Obamacare are beginning to speak out and are threatening to withdraw their support for the strategy if the government shutdown persists.

The growing group of lawmakers was publicly silent until now, voicing concerns privately only to their GOP colleagues while publicly rallying around the proposal, in part, to ensure the GOP caucus maintained a united front. With the government now closed and Democrats refusing to negotiate any changes to Obamacare, these Republicans are saying flatly that they've had it.

The tipping point for these Republicans came Monday, when Senate Democrats rejected for the third time a House Republican proposal to keep the government open while slowing down Obamacare. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., labeled as "lemmings" fellow Republicans who continued to use the threat of a government shutdown to stall Obamacare even after it was clear it wouldn't work.

The previous day, Aviva Shen of Think Progress, an arm of the Obamite Center for American Progress, had written

With hours left to pass a continuing resolution before the government shuts down, an overwhelming majority of Republicans may in fact be open to a “clean” bill that does not attempt to delay or defund Obamacare. Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports that just 30 radical House Republicans are responsible for keeping the doomed Obamacare fight alive.

Some 20 or 30 are somewhat less committed and would be willing to compromise, except out of fear of retaliation from their party. The remaining 175, York estimates, would support a continuing resolution without any Obamacare provisions. “If Boehner offers them a “clean” continuing resolution, they will vote for it,” York writes.

Yet House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has thus far refused to bring the bill to a floor vote. Besides a few exceptions, Boehner has clung to the so-called Hastert Rule, rarely calling a floor vote unless it can pass with 217 Republican votes.

The 30 radicals driving the GOP’s brinkmanship include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-TX). These lawmakers say they will do anything necessary to take a stand against Obamacare — even though shutting down the government will not actually delay the law’s implementation.

In the Senate, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have alienated virtually all of their colleagues in their fruitless crusade against Obamacare. An aide to Lee proudly stated, “The minority of the minority is going to run things until our leadership gets some backbone.”

Moderate House Republicans were rumored to be planning a revolt against the latest bill, which includes a one year delay of Obamacare. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who has been outspoken against tying Obamacare to a government shutdown, said late Monday he and 25 others would try to keep the bill from coming to a floor vote, but apparently could not get the votes. By ThinkProgress’ count, 49 Republicans have come out publicly against their party’s shutdown tactics.

Unfortunately, of those 49 cited by Think Progress, only eleven are U.S. Representatives and 16 are U.S. Senators.  The remaining 22 are what were termed "old school conservatives" and "conservative pundits." Sadly, they don't get a vote- though if they did, it probably wouldn't matter.  Apparently, only five of the eleven Repub members of the House were sufficiently exorcised by their party's tactics to join New York's Peter King in voting against the Speaker's version of the continuing resolution.   Not much of a revolt.

The reality is far darker and disturbing.  The National Review's Robert Costa found

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.

Instead of risking being cheered for being "a profile in courage," however, Boehner has opted to be a profile in cowardice.  There is overwhelming Democratic support in the House for the "clean" continuing resolution. As President Obama recognizes, even with the GOP majority in the House, only a few Republicans would be needed for approval of a "clean" continuing resolution (which has passed the Senate) in the House, given overwhelming Democratic support.

So if John Boehner decided he doesn't want the government to stay shut down, he could get it done, and would sacrifice at most his exalted position.   Steve M. has remarked

John Boehner? Why does his desire to cling to his speakership supersede the needs of the country? If he genuinely thinks the crazy caucus is leading the country to a cataclysm, why shouldn't he sacrifice his damn speakership and do what's patriotic, suspending the Hastert "rule" (which is just self-imposed and isn't a rule at all) and getting a continuing resolution and debt ceiling increase passed with Democratic and sane Republican votes? What does he lose if he's deposed, besides power -- which, as is obvious by now, is not something he has much of?

If I'm let go in a wave of "belt-tightening" or "restructuring," I'm unemployed. If Boehner's deposed, he can keep his seat in Congress. And if he retires in disgrace, so what? The world of corporate boards and lobbying and fees per speech that would be a nice annual salary for a normal person will open up to him. Plus, as a congressman with a 22-year career, he'll have a lovely pension and health insurance and retirement account. Hell, he's 63 -- he can start collecting Social Security.

But if he did the right thing, he would seriously endanger his position as Speaker of the House. Given the choice between country and power, John Boehner has made his choice quite clear.

Share |

No comments:


This  is a reasonable question. If going to a predominantly Jewish neighborhood to harass and intimidate Jewish people at a synagogue is no...