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View Diary: Prominent Democrats ask if Boehner's leadership is secure (67 comments)

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  •  Boehner isn't the bottom (6+ / 0-)

    He's a typical Bush-era republican, and represents about 2/3 of the current caucus.

    Ie, just enough to NOT have a majority without either the Tea Partiers or the Democrats, and there's very little he can propose that Dems will sign on to while holding his 2/3 caucus together.

    He's the weakest speaker I've seen in my lifetime because of the huge gaps between the four major House factions.

    There is no deal the Progressive Caucus and the Tea Party Caucus can agree on, but that's fairly  normal  (extreme right and left don't ever vote together)

    What makes him weak is that there is also nothing the normal Dem caucus and Tea Parties can agree on, or that the Progressive caucus and normal R caucus can agree on.  This means the only way B can cobble together a majority is with tea party+mainline Rs.

    Contrast this to the 2004 or 2006 house.   In those houses  you could pass a bill by either uniting the majority caucus or by picking off 20-30 moderates from the the majority and uniting the minority caucus.

    The problem now is that centrists have been completely purged from the Rs, and the dems have been pared back to the point where there aren't enough centrist dems in the house to overcome the Tea Party faction.  (Boehner might have been able to pick off 20ish Dems for some things, but not enough to overcome losing 60+ R votes).

    So that means....anything that passes the House has to be Tea Party acceptable.   Which means it will NOT pass the Senate or get signed by the Prez.

    As long as there are enough hardline tea partiers in the caucus AND as long as the rest of the non-tea-party Rs still vote like normal Bush republicans (ie, no "centrists") this situation will endure.

    The only way to break the logjam is to either break off about a third of the Democratic caucus to vote like bush Rs, or to split off about 30 R votes from the Republican caucus and pass essentially Democratic legislation.  (kinda like what happened in the New York senate, except with renegade Rs instead of Ds)

    I don't see Pelosi losing control of her caucus that way.  The wobblies were almost entirely purged in 2010.

    Which means from a Speaker standpoint we're looking at three possibilities in 2013-2104.

    1.  Status quo.   Boehner will talk a good game but his caucus will never deliver.  They'll do a lot of symbolic votes.  Once in a blue moon something substantive will be passed (like the tiny "help veterans get work" portion of Obama's jobs bill package that did pass).  Continuing resolutions to keep government functioning on status quo basis will probably be cobbled together with a mix of R and D votes, although they'll be hard to pass because the Tea Partiers will keep trying to add nasty amendments, so we might see the occasional government shutdown.

    2.  Boehner replaced with Cantor or Ryan or similar.   Nothing but symbolic votes will take place, and even more wasted time in "investigations".  Expect a debt limit constitutional crisis and at least one government shutdown.

    3.  Regardless of the R speaker, Pelosi might get 20+ Rs to form a "centrist" caucus, on the New York senate model, and vote with the Dems.  I don't see this happening except on the most vital legislation (budgets) or the most popular (tax reductions for middle class, defense appropriations).  But if it does, what we have is sort-of-a Dem majority in the House, enough to keep the govt running.   This might only happen after #2 has sent us off a cliff or two.

    Even in scenario #3 though, whomever the speaker is can block most legislation by not bringing it to a vote, so all #3 type activities would have to be done with the kind of petition Pelosi introduced to try to get the middle class tax cuts done.  In a way, this is probably a trial run to get the process down for repeated use in 2013-2014 if she can break free a few Rs who either care about governing or no longer care about re-election for whatever reason, or both.

    •  The only reason Boehner would (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, IM, daveminnj

      want to wait till January to actually start dealing, imo, is because
      1) He is waiting from that ever present knife in the back from Cantor and Ryan and cannot actually lead at this point because of all the points you bring up
      2) he is hoping the new congress will bring new dynamics in his favor i.e the teabaggery contingent will start to actually THINK
      3) he actually cannot do anything, again because of points you bring up and hopes that the Ryan and Cantor faction will actually step up to the plate and well er ummm LEAD in the new year.

      It looks to me as though you have the right of it. We are looking at a transition of the RepubliCONS to the RepubliCAN'TS. It will be a long long two years.

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:13:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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