Thursday, January 3, 2013

What in the House? Speaker What Now?

Keep that gavel warm for her, buddy.

This has been a telling series of recent political choices by the Speaker.

Boehner has repeatedly allowed Tea Partiers to run the House by giving into right-wing tantrums on everything from Planned Parenthood funding to raising the debt ceiling, and here we have Boehner, doing the exact same thing with Hurricane Sandy relief funding.  But this time, he's getting just raked over the coals by Republicans like Rep. Peter King and Gov. Christie.

It's clear that this isn't going to change.  Boehner isn't a take-no-prisoners kind of leader, and the Tea Partiers don't seem to have much actual investment in our government or economic stability.  House Majority Leader Cantor is even further Tea Party than Boehner (he voted against the fiscal cliff compromise, and has been sniping constantly and openly about Boehner for quite some time now), and nobody but Boehner really seems to want to be Speaker right now.

Boehner painted himself into a corner, politically.  He couldn't actually make a fiscal cliff deal because he can't control his caucus.  He tried a Plan B (can I mention how funny I find it that Republicans were calling their own plan "Plan B" with the views they have on family planning?).  He couldn't get his own caucus to vote for it (laying stark that many of them would rather see taxes rise on everybody than vote to raise taxes on those who make over $1 million per year).  He said the Serenity Prayer to his caucus meeting after that, and declared that the Senate and President would have to act because the House couldn't.  Then the Senate and President (okay, VP) DID act, and Boehner and the House Republicans - in the wake of an 89-8 vote in the Senate - looked just about as fringe as they have been acting to the general viewing public.  But they are still all fringe, all the time.  So they fought all day about whether they could get away with throwing another tantrum about spending cuts.  The Senate said they wouldn't come back to town for that.  So... to the Floor!

Ooh, that's an ugly vote.  

I think the only reason Boehner and the Tea Partiers allowed the vote on the fiscal cliff compromise was because A) The House Rs were clearly about to be the only ones to blame for going over the cliff, politically, and B) Even fringe conservatives don't want the market to tank.  Which means they all cynically wanted the compromise to pass, while not wanting to vote for it.

Ryan, btw, voted for it because he wants to run for president someday and sees what Cantor doesn't: that this course is untenable for Republicans.

The only thing that changes this is a Dem takeover of the House (which gerrymandering has made unlikely), or a new and way more alpha Republican Speaker.  I don't see any of those waiting in the wings.

So what next, Mr. Speaker?

Are you going to continue to let tantrums rule the People's House, or are you going to call in Supernanny?

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