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.
I like this post from Adele Stan on Alternet about as much as I like anything that highlights the disarray into which the House Republicans appear to have fallen, but the bit that jumps out at me is the titillating concept considered by conservative thinker, Norman J. Ornstein, that the replacement for John Boehner needn’t necessarily come from the House itself.
Now, to give some background—there was an interesting footnote that occurred right after the elections, when TX Rep. Louie Gohmert suggested Newt Gingrich be the Speaker of the House, again. Because there’s no reason why we shouldn’t party like it’s some time prior to 1999, I guess. He wasn’t entirely off base though, in that there really is no Constitutional reason why the Speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. The problem, though, is in getting enough members of the House to go along with you as to which outsider you want to fulfill that office.
I think getting House Republicans to move together on someone like Jon Huntsman or Mitch Daniels would be a pretty hard sell, no? Wouldn’t that be like, first they have to admit there is a problem? And then they would move on to acknowledging there’s an answer outside themselves? I don’t see them taking those steps. The folks who have the knives out for Boehner would, in actuality, probably be the least likely people to say, “Hey, let’s get a somewhat reality-based deal-maker up in here to whip our asses into a deal we don’t like!” They would be more likely to want Eric Cantor or someone who they feel listens to the “true conservative” side of things.
This is why, if there was a kind of coup (hopefully a non-armed coup—unlike the Freedomworks situation recently described), I would guess the lucky candidate would be a Tea Party kind of GOP-er. Except I don’t think all the GOP would get behind that. And no Dem would. Which leaves us with Boehner—the default-mode.
The simpler problem is math. The fault in GOP leadership has nothing to do with Boehner’s character or flaws or anything else about him—it’s the numbers. No matter who is in charge, that person would still be dealing with the Louie Gohmerts, Paul Brouns, and Michele Bachmann’s that make John Boehner’s job the thankless thing it is.
I could be proven wrong. But if the GOP majority chose anyone but Boehner, it wouldn’t be an outsider, and certainly not anyone you could, however laughably, call a moderate (a RINO), or even reasonable (an appeaser). And it would probably make zero difference in how any vote turned out going forward (probably still disappointing and clusterfuck-ish). The debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff have, in a late echo of the Mayan pseudo-prophecy, coincided. A pretty serious tone for the next two years of wrangling is about to be set. If the GOP is about to do whatever they will with a weak Speaker—the die is already basically cast.
And FWIW, can anyone see a knight in shining armor seriously riding in on his white horse and piercing the RW “bubble” with his trusty lance? It strikes me as fairy-tale stuff.
Huh. It’s Obama’s fault that Boehner can’t get the votes to do shit. So what happened on Thursday?
Well, he tried to get his guys to vote on a “Plan B” that was stuffed with things they should have liked. And they said “No.” Santa Boehner promised them a Christmas Tree, and didn’t get any cookies and milk in return. Thankless, this being Speaker of the House business. Is there any answer to his Yuletide dilemma, besides “ho,ho,ho”? his way out of it, and try to make the deal a) sweeter to his non-coalition (tick tock) and b) totally unacceptable to the House Dems, the Senate, and the White House, completely revealing who is the problem around here? (And that’s actually probably his best choice if he likes this job?)
Or should he just toss the whole thing in the fuck-it-bucket with some ice and prosecco, say “shaft the speakership”, and let Obama deal with a new congress, (which I bet Obama already has plans to do)? (That would be an excellent “Take this job and shove it” option, and ideal in the face of what looks like a “no-confidence” vote.)
The sad thing was, Boehner’s gambit actually was a bid to get some leverage by saying he could get something done—if the White House and Senate would just work with what the House agreed to. Not getting that, his road ahead looks pretty rugged. It looks even crappier if one paid attention to his very short Wednesday presser.
The 2012 post-election implosion of the Republican Party is no longer news, it has now morphed into a sort of protracted anthropological study conducted by forensic squads of enquiring minds from all regions of the intellectual landscape.
We’re now at a stage that is like being forced to attend a family intervention on Superbowl Sunday. The pathetic yutz of a “guest of honor” wallowing in self-pity, anger and (worst case) withdrawal, while the rest of the family natters away frantically about self-help, tough love and family history. It’s a horror show, with no real winners or losers, that must simply be endured.
And, because we are “family” it is assumed that someday we will forgive and forget, but that’s a long way off . . .
I suppose if there’s one silver lining to come from Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from the running for Hillary Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State, it’s that Sen. John McCain has to stop his tantrum regarding her. (Oh, but how long before the next tantrum commences?) I suppose I can see where people are coming from if they feel a little ripped off that she didn’t get further in the process because it just feels like giving in to the angry old GOP bastards, and who wants to give them an inch? On the other hand, I lean towards this being her decision to make, and getting out before it gets uglier (as McCain was threatening) is very sensible.
But where does the White House go from here regarding SoS Search? I know the current narrative is the next at-bat goes to Sen. John Kerry, because that’s who the Old Boys’ Club deems acceptable, and also they want a crack at slipping Scott Brown back into the Senate. Me, I don’t see why Obama doesn’t consider Samatha Power. (Well, actually I kind of do. I must be part troll that I’d be looking forward to “Shit-show 2: Power Boogaloo”, because if the GOP wanted to shit-stir regarding Power, well, I guess they would. But I’m a blogger and that’s blog-fodder. I’m capricious like that.)
But regarding the idea that Sen. Kerry accepting a role as SoS necessarily means losing that seat, I’m not convinced. The people of the Commonwealth have seen Brown’s act, and it’s not like there isn’t anyone who could run against him. I rather like the idea of Barney Frank in the Senate (we should be so lucky!). Although more than a few people on Twitter have mentioned Rep. Ed Markey, who I also rather like.
One of the BIG reasons that Republicans “Will Never Get Better” is their propensity for promoting nitwitty hacks who couldn’t hold their own in a high school debate club to positions of “thought leadership” in which they write “serious books,” post pseudo-intellectual op-eds for national publications and “win” fellowships to right-wing “think” tanks just like real people.
From those lofty perches, such bird-brains release their prodigious droppings into the idea stream from which the right-wingosphere drinks deeply. And so it goes . . .
One such avian diletante is Marc Thiessen whose bona fides include: a widely panned, book length apologia for the Bush administration’s propensity for torturing prisoners (Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack); a visiting “fellowship” at the American Enterprise Institute: and a regular gig hacking for the Washington Post, which appears to be helping Fred Hiatt immensely in his race to the bottom of the newspaper publishing heap.
Huh—for some reason, the Democratic president who won re-election—this first president since Eisenhower to win both his elections by 51% or more, wants to engage this fiscal cliff debate like a Democrat.
That’s because elections have consequences. Obama didn’t run on doing some big damn thing that wasn’t a part of his party’s platform, which has always been to protect entitlements. By derisively referring to the decision to restore the tax rates for the higher 2% earners to Clinton-era levels a “small ball”, Graham is not just engaging in an unfortunate double-entendre to imply that Obama’s figurative “balls” could be bigger, but is also reminding us that those rates that the Republicans want to make their line in the sand for the upper-income folks?
Ain’t no big. It’s what rich folks were paying before the Bush tax cuts went into effect and the economy was not doing poorly, then.
What Graham’s team is playing with, though, post-fiscal cliff issue, is a “big”. Not raising the debt ceiling is akin to saying we aren’t paying the bills. The lights get shut off and the phone doesn’t work. He’s talking government shut-down.
Seriously? We’re talking Clinton-era rates on the wealthy (who aren’t going to be hand-to-mouth if they pay a higher marginal rate, what?) vs actually shutting down the government, like Gingrich an’em did. How did they do in 1998? Exactly. What was it some Spanish dude said—those who don’t remember the past….?
I can’t talk enough about how disappointing Lindsey Graham is being. Really—you want someone to pay attention to you? Resign. Quit the damn Senate, go on a reality show or something. But this irresponsible talk is conduct unbecoming a respected Senator. He has got to know better than this.
But regarding the government shutdown/denying there is a debt ceiling mandate shit—glory days. Yeah, they’ll pass you by, glory days. In the wink of a young girl’s eye, glory days—glory days, amirite? Seriously GOP—get over it. Reagan will come back no more, and the Gingrich lies ready for the Green Room and dreaming. Your time is not yet and the stars aren’t right. Please to kindly not eat the American soul because you’re feeling all nostalgic.
So I see Charlie Crist made it official. Color me unsurprised. Crist wasn’t a terrible governor. Unlike the evil rat-bastard who succeeded him, Crist actually viewed voting as a right even for non-Republicans and expanded ballot access during his tenure, measures that were rolled back by the aforementioned rat-bastard.
Crist was on the non-lunatic side during the shameful Terri Schiavo circus. He sided with teachers against the bill backed by edu-corp vultures like his former boss Jeb(!). And of course, Crist campaigned hard for Obama and might have actually made a difference in the squeaker outcome here in Florida.
Would Crist be a huge improvement over current Governor Voldemort should he choose to run against The Dark Lord in 2014? Well, yes. As far as we know, Crist doesn’t store his fragmented soul in a series of hidden Horcruxes, and he’s never delivered a State of the State address in Parseltongue.
But does anyone doubt for a second that if Crist had beaten Rubio in the GOP primary and become Republican Senator Crist, he would have been campaigning his ass off for Romney this year? Of course he would have. He’s not really a Democrat; he’s an opportunist.
Scott is less popular in Florida than citrus canker, so it seems like this would be an ideal opportunity to run an actual, honest-to-god Democrat for the state’s top office. But given the state of the Florida Democratic Party, Crist is probably the best we can hope for. I’ll damn sure vote for him if it comes to that.
As if there isn’t already enough thick, creamy, scrumptious schadenfreude to get good and sick on, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threw another bucketful into the pot with his history-making self-inflicted-filibuster, yesterday afternoon. That’s right, folks, the Pharoah of the Filibuster brought the hammer down on his own bill, yesterday, when his political bluff went terribly wrong.
Today, he [McConnell] tried to embarrass Senate Democrats and the White House by calling for a vote on Barack Obama’s plan to allow the President, instead of Congress, to raise the debt ceiling. Well it turns out Democrats were perfectly willing to support that plan, and he ended up having to filibuster his own gambit.
In so doing he nearly dealt away the GOP’s last significant source of leverage over President Obama. If Senate Democrats can, and are allowed, to effectively raise the debt ceiling on their own, without GOP votes, House Republicans will be isolated next year, threatening to wreck the global economy rather than pass a viable Senate Democratic bill to avert a needless, politically motivated disaster.
The legislation introduced was modeled on McConnell’s own “last-choice option” to avert a U.S. debt default last year. It would permit the president to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling unless Congress mustered a two-thirds majority to stop him. President Obama likes the idea.
McConnell, mistakenly believed that he could publicly embarrass Democrats with a vote proving that Democrats would not support it. He said:
. . . there is bipartisan opposition to giving this or any President the unlimited authority to raise the debt ceiling.
When Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid agreed to an up-or-down vote, it was obvious to McConnell that Reid might have enough votes to pass it. McConnell was then forced to filibuster his own bill, demanding that it needed 60 votes to pass.