Take This Job and SHOVE IT!
So. The goose has been cooked, the nog guzzled and special “gifts” from special “friends” received, but, rather than the usual month off for holidays, a handful of the Big Guns, the Young Guns and Loose Cannons of the GOP have slouched back to The Capitol to twiddle their thumbs in DC rather than in their home districts.
Let the dysfunction recommence!
Lest you forget the pre-holiday debacle that was Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B,” it was an abrupt departure from negotiations on avoiding last year’s GOP exercise in forging a “sword of Damocles,” lovingly dubbed the Fiscal Cliff—a gnarly combination of expiring tax cuts and sequestered government spending designed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of Americans.
The upshot of Plan B was to demonstrate the utter inability of House Republicans to represent anything or anyone whilst suited up in their own idealogical straitjacket which, of course, had already resulted in their embarrassing defeat in the 2012 Presidential Election.
Now, in my humble opinion, Republicans make fairly graceless winners, but they make atrociously histrionic losers. Evidently Republican leadership, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to beat their mangy herd of dead horses all the way to the 2014 midterm elections which will, hopefully, provide the country with some much needed relief from their pathological governance.
But, in the meantime . . . Speaker Boehner has demonstrated to one and all that he’s essentially powerless over his caucus. He was reduced from Speaker to Majority Whip, a job which he also totally cocked up. It’s pretty clear that if Boehner can’t persuade fractious Republicans to vote for his own bill, there’s no sane expectation that he could deliver votes on a compromise between Republicans and Democrats.
Boehner got together with the other Keystone Kops—Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)—on Wednesday, to issue an incomprehensible punt to the “grown-ups’ table.
The House has acted on two bills which collectively would avert the entire fiscal cliff if enacted. Those bills await action by the Senate. If the Senate will not approve and send them to the president to be signed into law in their current form, they must be amended and returned to the House. Once this has occurred, the House will then consider whether to accept the bills as amended, or to send them back to the Senate with additional amendments.
The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act. The lines of communication remain open, and we will continue to work with our colleagues to avert the largest tax hike in American history, and to address the underlying problem, which is spending.
Well, at least they still appear to understand the “blue skies” version of how this is supposed to work . . .
But the Senate is not the problem. The Senate would most likely pass anything that Obama favors . . . but it would still have to pass the House.
A few days after President Obama was re-elected, he recommended that the House do just that—pass the bill that had already passed the Senate without, it should be noted, any obstruction from Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. It could have been over in November and, I might add, with a lot less public demonstration of Republican ineptitude.
As Josh Marshall, editor of Talking Points Memo, pointed out:
Someone has to get the House in hand. But it’s proving so hard that they’re now going to try to get the Senate in hand instead, even though that’s never been the problem . . . The problem is in the House, not the Senate. Pretending otherwise is a bit of a joke.
Situations like this are usually Mitch McConnell’s cue to check his comb-over and swashbuckle over to do Boehner’s job for him, as he did when the wheels came off the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations. But these are complicated times, McConnell’s up for re-election in 2014 and is about as popular as snake spit on his home turf (37% approval rate at last count). He is realistically expecting a flank attack from the hardline Right Wing-nuts (not to mention Ashley Judd).
So McConnell might prefer to keep his fingerprints off of any tax compromises, especially after Boehner managed to get the no-tax-hikes contingent reaching for their torches and pitchforks.
Still, nothing can pass the House unless Boehner is at least able to get it to the floor. And despite the fact that the Senate will be in session, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t shown much of an appetite for wading into the bog at the foot of the Fiscal Cliff.
This is what he had to say, most recently, on the Senate floor:
This isn’t funny. People’s livelihoods are at stake here. The U.S. economy is at stake here. Millions upon millions of families are counting on us to do something.
Well, as we used to say in the ‘hood, when I was a pup: “Where’d you get your first clue, Sherlock?”