Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Budget, Economy, Politics | 2 comments

Quote of the Day

John Boehner is just trying to survive. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

John Boehner is just trying to survive. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Quote of the day comes from Ezra Klein:

The shutdown is a Republican civil war

We’re used to brinkmanship in Washington resulting from conflict between Democrats and Republicans. But this shutdown is different. It’s a fight between Republicans and Republicans — or, more specifically, Republicans and the Tea Party.

The bottom line is we have around 40 Tea Party Republicans who are holding John Boehner, the Republican party, the country and when it comes to the debt ceiling the world hostage.  Boehner does not have enough Republican votes to pass a clean CR or raise the debt ceiling without Democratic votes – the infamous “Hastert Rule.”  But the votes are there to pass both.

What’s strange and fascinating about the shutdown debacle, however, is that a majority of House Republicans were with Boehner: They didn’t want a shutdown. “Two-thirds want a clean CR,” Rep. Peter King told the National Review, using the acronym for a “continuing resolution” to fund the government. “Including some of the people who got elected as tea party candidates from the South. You talk to them, they think this is crazy.”

So how did we get here?  Boehner and the sane caucus of the Republican party are running scared.  And probably for no reason.

Robert Costa, Washington bureau chief for the National Review, estimates that there are only “30 to 40 true hardliners” among House Republicans. He says more than 100 House Republicans are solidly behind Boehner. But Boehner’s troops are scared. “Could they stand firm when pressured by the 30 or 40 hardliners and the outside groups?” he asked.
You’d think they could. Or, at the least, you’d think Boehner could. Typically, party leaders protect the mainstream members from the demands of the fringe. They control fundraising and committee assignments and the floor schedule, which gives them substantial power over individual members. And if outside groups want a seat at the table, they need to stay on leadership’s good side, which tends to keep them from going too far off the reservation. But the Republican leadership no longer has the strength to play that role. “What we’re seeing is the collapse of institutional Republican power,” Costa said.

There basically is little or no leadership in the Republican party.  I believe this is a result of the Bush administration – they didn’t want strong leadership in Congress, they wanted people who would take orders from the White House (that’s why they threw Trent Lott under the bus).  When the Republicans lost the White House the party essential became a headless horseman.

How will this end?  Certainly not well for the Republican Party and possibly not well for the country or the world.  And all because of a few bigots – and make no doubt the Tea Party is all about a black man in the White House.  Angry white people who thought the world ended when Obama became President.  I know this from personal experience – my late mother was one of those angry white people.