Friday, December 21, 2012


John Boehner couldn't round up enough votes in his own caucus for his Plan B last night; he looks weak, Republicans who are leaving town probably look childish and stubborn to most of the country, and now, I'm told by Brian Beutler, Democrats have a great deal of control over what happens next:
It sets up a scenario where Boehner's old nemesis Nancy Pelosi is suddenly back in the driver's seat, controlling the votes necessary to pass a deal.
Ezra Klein writes:
The failure of Plan B proved something important: Boehner doesn't have enough Republican support to pass any bill that increases taxes -- even one meant to block a larger tax increase -- without a significant number of Democrats. The House has now adjourned until after Christmas, but it's clear now what Plan C is going to have to be: Boehner is going to need to accept the simple reality that if he's to be a successful speaker, he's going to need to begin passing legislation with Democratic votes.
Politico says that can only happen if an institutional barrier is overcome:
The White House's best hope is that Boehner takes a drastically different course and breaks with his own allies. He could decide to negotiate the best bipartisan package possible and put it on the floor with unanimous Democratic support and the backing of Republicans who want to avoid the cliff.

But there's little expectation that he'll go that route and weaken his already shaky hold on the speakership. Boehner would flout the "majority of the majority" policy, which was instituted a decade ago by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill). It means that leaders do not put a bill on the floor unless it has the support of a majority of the majority.

"If Boehner keeps insisting on majority of the majority, we go over the cliff, since it's now clear nothing but a straight-up tea party bill can pass the house under those conditions," a senior Democratic Senate aide said.
I keep reading that if Boehner didn't care about keeping his speakership, ultimately he could get plenty of votes for a bipartisan deal that could then pass with Democratic as well as Republican votes. I'm not sure I believe that. If Boehner couldn't get enough votes to put a tax-increase-on-millionaires-only bill over the top when that bill was just meant to humiliate the president, why should we think he could get a vote to actually lock a tax increase into law -- even if it's past January 1 and we're all freaking out over the fiscal cliff? I know it would be a matter of wrangling far fewer votes than Boehner had last night. But that was for humiliation -- and he couldn't pull it off. This would be for a tax increase, which is the worst thing in the world to Republicans. Outside pressure to thwart a deal would be greater. GOP House members' fear of primary challenges would be greater.

I'm not sure we'll ever get a deal that reverse the majority of what the cliff does, even if Boehner agrees to work toward a bipartisan bill.* His caucus is crazy. I think last night was the tip of the crazy iceberg.

*I should have added: unless Democrats agree to (and propose) brutal benefit cuts and agree to restore all the Bush tax rates, with the possible -- possible -- exception of the rate on those making over $1 million a year, which Republicans may generously agree to sacrifice for real, although I wouldn't count on it.


Victor said...

In my lifetime, I've seen some courageous acts of political suicide.

But for the life of me, I've never seen a politician line the edge of a cliff with Vaselined banana-peels himself, and then get a running start so he's going full tilt when he get's to the edge, like Boehner did yesterday.

He, and his Republican Keystone Kongress showed how k-k-krazy they are!
They took a bill that was meant to be a jab at President Obama, and made it into a knockout right hook, right on their Speaker's bean.
Boehner is now, officially, a has-'bean.'

Whither wander 'We the people," now?

aimai said...

I don't believe it. Majority of the Majority rule notwithstanding the modern Republican party hates bipartisanship more than anything else. I don't think there could be even a moderate Republican--if such a creature even exists--who wouldn't swing hard right to avoid joining in a deal with even the blue dog democrats at this point. Let alone make a deal with Nancy Pelosi's blessing. There are not fixed ideological or policy interests other than fucking over the voters and the democrats at this point. No compromise is possible because there is noone left on the Republican side who will compromise--unless the vote could take place in the dark of night, with no record kept, behind a black curtain.


The New York Crank said...

For this impasse Obama and Pelosi committed to chained CPI, which will punish the oldest and weakest Americans for the greed of the rich – and also backed up to the $400,000 income cutoff instead of the original $250,000?

To hell with all of them. Let's go over the cliff. That way everybody gets it in the neck one way or the other. If we can't spread around the wealth, at least we'll get to spread around the misery.

And meanwhile, the budget deficit will cease to be quite as large an issue as it is – and funds will be available in some distant but saner future to plow back into the economy.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank

White Hat said...

The GOP spent 4 years promoting the Tea Pary simply as a way to cause grief to the Obama administration, thinking that anything bad for Obama was good for the Republican party.

Now Boehner can't seem ride that tiger. Are we seeing the early stages of the breakup of the GOP? We'll know for sure if the RNC starts funding attack ads on their unruly members.

Examinator said...

The New York Crank
why worry about it The world is gonna end when ever it can be bothered to get around to it! ;-)

it's not a cliff as in " God help uuuuuuuss (slat)!

I wonder if the GOP is hoping to go past the dead line then negotiate for tax CUTS for the poor and middle class then they can say to the rich and the tea bagger commitment they didn't vote for a tax increase.
hmmmmmm ;-/