And then a step to the right…

So, this happened today.

Funny, I was thinking just this past weekend about how everyone sneered at Boehner for being an adult and choosing to govern rather than drive the country over the cliff. Can’t wait to see what cliffs whatever True Believer is called to replace him is willing to happily toss us all over in the name of symbolism and air time.

Oh, but it will make the GOP look bad on Twitter for a few days. So I guess it’s all good.

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84 thoughts on “And then a step to the right…

  1. what cliffs whatever True Believer is called to replace him is willing to happily toss us all over in the name of symbolism and air time.

    Insanity. They are called The Cliffs of Insanity.

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  2. I figure the possible Planned Parenthood shutdown was the last straw for him. All that time, trying to keep his own party from shooting itself in the foot, and they’re gonna do it AGAIN.

    Can’t decide if he just doesn’t want to deal with the shutdown or just plans to shove through the budget stuff before he leaves and leaves some other idiot to deal with it next year.

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  3. I, for one, can’t wait for the GOP to select whoever doesn’t get the McCain / Boehner memorial pass on doing crazy things because they appear to do them “reluctantly.”

    Or, you know, someone who doesn’t actually do crazy things like shut down the government. That’d be nice too.

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  4. They’re going to be pretty upset when they find that the new Speaker also fails at the primary task of “making Obama not do president stuff anymore.” I think Boehner’s failure to do that has something to do with the fact that a Speaker can’t just make loud noises and shoo a President out of office. But maybe I’m wrong and the next one will be able to do it.

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  5. The Atlantic seems to think MIchael Cain is right, the way their article is worded it sounds like Boehner is going to show the clean CR through and then retire. I’m sad, because it’s going to deprive us of shutdown disaster all over the GOP, happy because we’ll avoid the debacle of a shutdown and hopeful that the GOP’s powerful wingnut wing will still put on a spectacle.

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            • If McConnell uses parliamentary procedure to allow a straight up/down vote (as he’s insulated from re-election until 2020) (I don’t know how that sausage can be made though), he could squeak something out with as few a four defectors/co-conspirators with The Biden breaking the tie. He could easily get Kirk and Murkowski for any grand bargain deal, then some combo of Ayotte, Collins, Portman, Toomey, and maybe even Cochran and Corker.

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              • Maybe Kolohe but
                A) McConnell wants to work with his caucus from now to, you know, whenever he retires and killing the debt ceiling will give him no end of hell whereas simply punting it beyond the election will get him invective from the usual suspects but total (private) support from the majority of his people and likely (private) relief and pleasure from the GOP bigwigs
                B) Senator Turtle isn’t going to want to give up a weapon; not even one that his opponents have figured out how to defang (they may forget again). Abolishing the ceiling is probably a bridge too far for his party too.

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        • I do think the debt ceiling is on the table. I can only imagine he’s pretty pissed and if you’re about to declare Chapter 11 go ahead and take that Hawaii vacation. His obstacles are:

          1) Finding enough Republicans to go along. I think he can do it for the CR, but the debt ceiling may be more difficult.
          2) Getting the Democrats to go along, as they might prefer it to be a live issue rather than a dead one.

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          • I think, Will, that for simply punting the debt ceiling out past the next election if you administered some truth serum the majority of Senator Turtle’s caucus would express relief if not delight that it was off the table as a live issue for the next election.

            I just can’t see the Dems trying to sink such an effort, especially if it’s attached to a clean CR. Yes, one can game out ways it helps them but that’s a lot of good stuff to leave on the table for a possible electoral boost. If I were in Dem leadership I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to pass up a clean CR and a debt ceiling boost; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Plus fighting it would require inverting a lot of Democratic attack lines and muddling the issue.

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        • That’s the sort of political calculus that someone would only execute if they really actually gave a crap about a functional government in the mid-term.

          Boehner… hm. He’s certainly been wiling to fall on some grenades for his party and for getting some things accomplished.

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          • He has a potentially lucrative post-politics career to think about. It seems like the next few months is his audition for that, not his chance to do work in the best interests of the public.

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          • Boehner has always cared about two groups in his job, the right wing true believers who could take his job away and the establishment and GOP moneyed interests who run the party.
            The former group now have utterly nothing to threaten him with but invective. The latter group can offer him an exquisite sinecure in the private sector. The former group would HATE any of this but the latter group would LOVE it both for business reasons and electoral reasons.

            Looked at from cost/benefit alone it seems like a no brainer as long as he thinks McConnel can bring it home in the Senate. That’s without rendering an opinion as to whether our Orange Speaker actually cares about the country (which would benefit from such a move for obvious reasons).

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  6. Say you’ve got a situation where an enemy is coming through the bunker due to a breach caused by a traitor and you’ve only got one bullet.

    Do you shoot the enemy?
    Do you shoot the traitor?

    Those who say “you should shoot the enemy” are probably confused by the behavior of the nutball Republicans.

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    • Wait, only as game theory, (that is, bracketing whether or not I’m a nutball or Republican), wouldn’t the rational act be to shoot the traitor?

      The reason being that upon your possible death, the recently revealed traitor could then be re-inserted for another breech, whereas the enemy would always be known as the enemy?

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      • In game theory terms, that works for a true military situations, but fails for most situations for which the game is a metaphor. Add perfect, indestructible cameras owned by your superiors/compatriots elsewhere (which brings us closer to the real situation), and you (I think) have to bring in your assumptions about who is easier to handle and who can deal more damage. Assuming the enemy is more dangerous and harder to deal with, shoot the enemy. This bunker is lost, but the traitor is known and can be punished and/or bought back, but the enemy needs to be stopped. Or, perhaps, join the traitor and live, if you want to be selfish.

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  7. Today’s Washington Post reporting on this said the Conservative rump faction has agreed to pass a clean CR next week and then take on Planned Parenthood with a budget reconciliation maneuver after. The agreement came after Boehner announced he was stepping down. Say what you will . . . .

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    • I’m pretty sure I read the reconciliation maneuver in question is subject to filibuster and will still lead to the exact same place, even if they somehow can get a ruling from the Parliamentarian to dodge it, which is an Obama veto, a government shutdown, and everyone blaming the GOP.

      I know that, like Charlie Brown and the football, they’re sure this time is the time. Sooner or later, they’re gonna kick that football….

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          • The leadership definitely isn’t that stupid. They weren’t that stupid last time! The question is whether or not enough of the rank and file is that stupid (or scared) to the point that leadership can’t stop it. I’m betting not. I was betting that before this turn, but especially now.

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            • And so it came to pass early in the 21st Century, that the most urgent question facing the American people was, were the Republicans too stupid to avoid burning the entire edifice of governance to ashes, or too crazy not to?

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              • This is off the immediate topic – and probably more appropriate for a “Sunday” thread…

                On my last plane trip, I read _Japan 1941_ by Eri Hotta. It’s Just What It Says On The Tin, a look at the Japanese civil government and diplomatic sector in the year or so leading up to Pearl Harbor. Everyone could see the endgame, but they never found the man in the right place at the right time who was either willing to commit the political capital to be the first to speak up to stop it – or competent enough to find another way. After a certain point, it had gathered enough gruesome momentum that the only way to avoid disaster was to double down and commit as wholeheartedly as possible in the (small, and recognized as such) hope of winning the war they couldn’t find it in themselves to avoid.

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                • Far too thoughtful a comment to be wasted on my snark.
                  But now that you mention it there is, throughout the entire contemporary movement a sort of blind momentum, a sense of being locked into a narrowing set of options, with the doors of compromise being shut one after another, with the goals getting more absurdly grandiose.

                  They want a restoration of something none of them actually recall, but hunger for mostly because the coming reality is so terrifying.

                  Boehners purging is the flip side of Trump- they are aching for a Putin, a colossus who will ride in to set things right by sheer will. On Day One.

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        • Eh, I’m leaning towards ‘no’ but I’m pretty sure there’s a very loud, very vocal (and probably not as small as I’d wish) group of Republicans who seriously think THIS time they’ll be able to kick that football.

          It depends mostly on how deftly the leadership can finesse around them (which involves cutting deals with Democrats or other such heresies), and with Boehner leaving….I’d say it depends more on the quality of his replacement.

          Who knows. Boehner’s scalp might settle the crazies down enough to avoid the whole fiasco. Although I suspect it’s more like Boehner’s swan song is kicking that can past the election.

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  8. One thing to keep in mind is that the 2013 government shutdown did not hurt the Republicans at all; in 2014 gained seats in the House to their largest majority their in almost a century, and gained more than enough seats in the Senate to completely flip that chamber to their control.

    contrast with the 1998 elections, where they lost seats in the House and had no change in the Senate, an uncharacteristic result with the opposite party in the White House.

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    • Again, it’s that midterm electorate. It’s killing the GOP. Off-years validate all the crazy.

      Even though said crazy kept the Senate from them for several more years and costs them seats that should have been pick ups.

      So yeah, the grown-ups who acknowledge things like “The mid-term elecorate is different from the Presidential ones, and it’s a matter of Democrats and Democratic leaners staying home rather than conservatives not showing up” realize that a shutdown will kick them in the nads. The people who keep doubling down on crazy and winning off-years? Not so much.

      After all, it works for them.

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      • The difference in electorate composition is a thing, granted, but how then did the Republicans get shellacked in 2006? (and to repeat, be underwhelming in 98?) It’s not *entirely* about the difference in the electorate.

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        • 2006 was a ticked off wave. A whole bunch of Democrats who don’t bother to vote midterm elections did. GOP turnout might have been low (Bush disillusionment was already setting in), but Democratic turnout was insanely high for an off year.

          Everything has outliers, but in general the people that vote off-years are older and whiter. And that means “more Republican” these days.

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      • I don’t think a shutdown,if it occurred, would doom them in 2016. I do think it would hurt in an election where they won’t have a very large margin of error – if any – and there is almost no conceivable way that it can help. If I were in RNC headquarters, what would bother me more than the fact of the shutdown is the mentality of it. It’s the mentality of a party that’s not ready to start winning yet.

        On a sidenote, the dynamics of this potential shutdown are actually rather different than the 2013 one. Enough so that I can actually sort of understand why (a) some might believe that there would be a different resolution and/or (b) why some might more begrudgingly go along with it.

        When I made my “no more shutdown” predictions, i didn’t foresee a convergence between shutdowns and the abortion issue. The latter complicates everything, bringing in a somewhat different set of players. I still think it would be avoided, and I do not foresee any more strictly budgetary shutdowns initiated by Republicans for another decade or so… but I’m less confident on this one as I otherwise would be.

        Which leads me to an odd place that the 2013 shutdown might have actually been a good thing. The chances of a shutdown now would be a lot higher without that experience, and one the year before a presidential election is more likely to be damaging than one the year after a presidential election.

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        • Doom? No, but hurt? I can’t see how not. Let’s see:
          Remind liberals and women why they need to vote Democratic and why they should bother voting: check.
          Remind pro-lifers why they the GOP frustrates them and discourage them when the effort inevitably folds: check.
          Drive another truck over the carcass of the GOP’s claim to fiscal responsibility: check
          Enrage and energize the wingnuts during primary season potentially aiding extremist candidates and forcing centrist candidates to the right: check

          Yeah I’m not seeing a up side. Doom? No, hurt yeah.

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          • Hurt maybe, or hurt probably but not necessarily. It depends on whether or not it’s a fire still burning a year later.

            The other thing I would add is that a lot of the pro-lifers seem a lot more realistic about their likelihood of success. A lot of them want Obama and the Democrats called to account and the videos publicized, even if they don’t get outright victory. For *them* it’s actually better to fight and lose than to not fight at all and not fighting at all is a risk. I don’t think that outweighs the other risks, though. But only if the fire still burns.

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            • I agree it could potentially simply fizzle out and be a minor to non-issue come 2016. I can think of a few ways, some small some potentially larger that it could impact the 2016 race:
              -If it forces the candidates and the party to the right whatever they say could potentially make for some nasty soundbites.
              -If the GOP eventually has to basically beat down their base to end the shut down that could lead to lingering resentment a year on and depress turnout.
              -If the intra-GOP fight becomes the establishment vs the believers that could impact what candidate wins the nomination fight. While I consider Trump entirely impossible, Cruz could harvest that resentment and use it to potentially win the nomination or badly maul the eventual winner.

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            • I’ve gotten the distinct impression that the Republicans in the House can basically do whatever they want with no fear of electoral consequences.

              I consider this particular shutdown debate to be the test: if they pull it off, the party cleans house in the next election or we can stop treating the party and any of its continued supporters as serious people.

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  9. I really hope this is a sign of the fever breaking in the GOP; as long as we’re stuck with a two-party form of government, we need both parties to be functional for the system to stay intact. I may disagree with the GOP on pretty much everything but I still want them to be vibrant and healthy to keep the Democrats in check. I mean, my dream scenario is that the GOP goes the way of the Whigs and the Democrats split into their conservative and liberal wings, but practically speaking that seems unlikely. Hopefully McCarthy has better luck than Boehner did reigning in the far-right wing of the party.

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    • This is an under-appreciated point I think. As much fun as it might be for some on the left to watch the Republicans truly embrace The Dumb, the effect on the Democrats will be less than pleasant in the long run.

      In some respects, the rot is already setting in. The way Obama has acted in regards to transparency over national security matters has been worse than Bush, but since the majority of people who care about stuff like that are horrified at the Republican alternative why shouldn’t Obama act to maximise his powers and prerogatives? It’s not like anyone is going to stop him or even object too loudly in case it gives the Republicans a leg up.

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      • James K:

        In some respects, the rot is already setting in. The way Obama has acted in regards to transparency over national security matters has been worse than Bush, but since the majority of people who care about stuff like that are horrified at the Republican alternative why shouldn’t Obama act to maximise his powers and prerogatives? It’s not like anyone going to stop him or even object too loudly in case it gives the Republicans a leg up.

        Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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    • I’m afraid that the only way out for the GOP is through, which means even more dysfunction and bedlam now that Boehner is not there to restrain them and do damage control, followed by eventual massive losses in elections followed by revisions and retrenchment.

      But I suspect they’re going to put in a basic Boehner clone who’ll continue to tamp down the necessary fever so they’ll just sortof keep fumbling along.

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      • As I often find myself saying, I hope you’re wrong but suspect you’re right. Especially the whole “only way out is through” bit. To some extent, this will only really be solved when the older generations die off and the opinions of the younger generations cause inevitable changes in some of the base beliefs and attitudes of the party.

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