It's been no secret that the relationship between John Boehner and Eric Cantor has never been a good one. Indeed, the image of Cantor as a scheming backstabber plotting to stick the knife in the Drunk Weepy Oompa-Loompa's back and take the Speakership for himself has been around for a while. It's made for a dysfunctional House when the two top GOP leaders are acting like these two on a daily basis. It's gotten so bad that, as Politico reported last month, the two have been seeking a truce to keep their catfight from causing more damage to their caucus.
Yet apparently the detente isn't going very well, because Cantor's aides are apparently eating each other alive. After top Cantor aide Brad Dayspring's abrupt departure a couple of days ago caused some head-scratching, this possible reason came out:
The sudden departure of trusted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor aide Brad Dayspring late last week followed a heated, nearly physical confrontation with another senior Cantor staffer over the unveiling of a major GOP initiative.Steve Benen has more:
The dramatic exit of Dayspring - one of the House Republican Conference's savviest and most controversial operatives - came after a clash with another top Cantor aide, Mike Ference, over the rollout of a jobs bill that's set to hit the floor this week.
The legistlative conflict was over a jobs bill, and Cantor's office failed effort to generate Democratic support. But the dramatic story is over the intra-party conflict among Republican staffers, including this case, in which Dayspring and Ference nearly got "into a physical altercation."Doesn't the image of two high-ranking Congressional aides behaving like scuffling schoolboys on the playground instill great confidence in our House Republican leadership? And it hasn't been an isolated incident, oh no. More Politico:
This dustup is only the most recent closed-door clash among House Republican leadership. There have been numerous disagreements between aides and members over issues such as the debt ceiling, government funding and the payfoll tax holiday."So to recap, we have the two top Republican leaders in the House having to call a truce to prevent all out warfare between them, staffers on the verge of duking it out in the halls of Capitol Hill and rank and file House Republicans feeling like nobody's in charge. To put it mildly, it's a mess. Or as Benen puts it:
The larger point to all of this isn't just a clash of personalities; it's that the House Republican leadership appears to be so dysfunctional, we haven't seen anything like it since House GOP members tried to launch a coup against then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in the late 1990s.No kidding. But then, with leaders like Boner and Cantor, would you expect anything else? What's next, their respective staffers staging a grand battle royale a la The Warriors? ("Boner Boys, come out and plaaaaaaaay!")
The takeaway from all of this is simple: it's a caucus lacking leadership. There's no grown-up in the room, offering the caucus guidance and a steady hand.