Norm Ornstein, co-author of Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem comes up with another interesting observation:
What if Boehner doesn’t survive? Go to Article I, Section 2: The Constitution does not say that the speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. In fact, the House can choose anybody a majority wants to fill the post. Every speaker has been a representative from the majority party. But these days, the old pattern clearly is not working.
Added: Charles Pierce:
I have to confess, I didn't know that you didn't have to be an elected member of the House to be its Speaker. While interesting, I think it's rather like the fact that, theoretically, any baptized Catholic male can be elected pope. (IIRC, the last layman to be elected pope was Callixtus III, who became pope in 1455. He was a Borgia, and was a lawyer by trade. Strike two. Anyway, one of the great unfounded rumors in papal history is that Callixtus excommunicated Halley's Comet. He actually did order a new trial for Joan Of Arc, at which she was posthumously acquitted, which seems a shame.) Nobody outside of the House is going to get this job any more than the Holy Spirit is likely to move the next conclave to select Andrew Sullivan or, well, me, even though I already have a name picked out. I'm going to be Lando II.
h/t to Demi Moaned for the link.

Et tu, Frank Luntz?

Pollster Frank Luntz, who has studied attitudes about gun control, said on Wednesday that he doesn’t “think the NRA is listening” to the American public in the wake of the massacre of 20 children at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

“The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools,” Luntz said on CBS’s “This Morning.” “And they are not asking for a security official or someone else. I don’t think the NRA is listening. I don’t think they understand most Americans would protect the Second Amendment rights and yet agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun, not every gun should be available at anytime, anywhere, for anyone. At gun shows, you should not be able to buy something there without any kind of check whatsoever.”

Jonathan Capehart:
There is something wrong when someone gets his or her point across by flashing a gun. Thankfully, that’s all that happened that day at FreedomWorks. That [professional jerk Dick] Armey would countenance such gross intimidation of his employees is loathsome. But there is justice of a sort. Armey was marched out of his role in the Washington-based group six days after his appalling stunt. Unfortunately, he was paid $8 million to go away.
The United States has become an extreme example of what could well be termed “global gunning.” With less than 5% of the world's population, we own more than 40% of all the firearms that are in civilians' hands: 250 million to 300 million weapons, nearly as many as we have people, and they are not going away anytime soon. We have made social and policy decisions that, with some important exceptions, provide the widest possible array of firearms to the widest possible array of people, for use under the widest possible array of conditions.

The most egregious policies have been enacted at the state level — “Stand Your Ground” laws, for instance, which have been used to legitimize what many people still call murder. Justice Louis Brandeis rightly praised the states as the laboratories of our democracy, but in some of them, experimentation with firearm policy has taken a frightening turn.

We are paying the price of those decisions. Too often, our children and grandchildren are paying it for us. Payments will continue. Can we do anything to reduce them? I believe the answer is yes.

Read on for some common sense suggestions.

Linda Greenhouse:

There has been plenty written about the National Rifle Association in recent days. But nothing that I’ve seen has focused on the gun lobby’s increasingly pernicious role in judicial confirmations. So here’s a little story.
Nearly all the major players in the fiscal cliff negotiations are starting to agree on one thing: A deal is virtually impossible before the New Year.
Unlike the bank bailout in 2008, the tax deal in 2010 and the debt ceiling in 2011, the Senate almost certainly won’t swoop in and help sidestep a potential economic calamity, senior officials in both parties predicted on Wednesday.
Not surprising. Republicans will only vote for a tax cut after Jan 3, not the same exact policy in December, when it cannot be called that. This is a direct result of Republicans having no clue how to govern. They exist only to gain power for themselves, not to use it for the common good. And yes, it is a one-sided, one-party problem.

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