This is pretty simple: the problem for Republicans right now isn’t John Boehner, and replacing him wouldn’t do them any good. The problem is House Republicans.I agree with that. In fact, I said so yesterday.
The "fiscal cliff" compromise, even with all its chaos, controversy and unresolved questions, was enough to ignite the stock market on Wednesday, the first trading day of the new year.Don't worry. Republicans are conspiring as we speak to undermine that.
The Dow Jones industrial average careened more than 300 points higher, its biggest gain since December 2011. It's now just 5 percent below its record high close reached in October 2007. The Russell 2000, an index that tracks smaller companies, shot up to the highest close in its history.
I wonder how Boehner likes being treated like a New Jersey school teacher by the Governor.
The House GOP’s antics on the fiscal cliff leave little optimism that lawmakers will be reasonable when it comes to more substantial issues such as restructuring entitlements, rewriting the tax code and reducing the debt. The fury over the Sandy sidestep could be a sign, though, that even some House Republicans are tiring of the tea party’s dominance of their caucus.Matt Yglesias:
The White House didn't win in the deal. And that's exactly why liberals should be calm about it. What the White House wanted—a much larger tax increase, paired with substantial net new spending cuts—was not a worthwhile objective. Such an arrangement would have done a better job of addressing the long-term budget deficit, but that wouldn't have achieved anything. It wouldn't have boosted economic growth or reduced unemployment. It wouldn't have helped the needy. It wouldn't have done anything useful other than created a signature achievement for the White House accomplishment list.Dave Weigel:
What they settled for—a small tax increase and a minor delay of the sequester—is totally fine. Everyone involved should hold their heads high. An awful lot of fiscal austerity is going to happen in 2013 overwhelmingly as a result of bills that had already passed, but that's under the bridge. The specific outcome of this specific deal was very reasonable.
“If you want to have a spending fight, you don’t have to wait very long,” said Rep. Tom Cole on Tuesday. Cole, the media-friendly deputy whip, spent the entire fiscal cliff period suggesting ways for the party to save face, only to be undone by the party’s stubbornness. Now, he said, Republicans were going to learn the beauty of caving. “More members want this to pass than want to vote for it.”Ezra Klein:
And the members who really opposed it would be totally marginalized. Huelskamp was shocked at the very idea that Boehner would allow a bill to pass without majority Republican support. “I think most Republicans would be stunned if the speaker moved forward on something like that,” he said. “Denny Hastert wouldn’t have done it. Newt Gingrich wouldn’t have done it. Bob Livingston, who lasted all of 24 hours, wouldn’t have done it, if he’d ever had a chance. The Hastert Rule is pretty important. If you walk into a new Congress Thursday at noon, and your speaker just did something like that, it would stun Republicans.”
All arguments, on all sides of the issue, come down to the debt ceiling. The liberals just don’t believe the White House can hold firm against the GOP’s threats to push the country into default. The conservatives, well, they believe the exact same thing. I disagree. As I see it, there are now three possible outcomes in the debt-ceiling fight:Michael Tomasky:
1) The White House is right, and they’ll be able to enforce a roughly 1:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts in the next deal;
2) The Republicans are right, and they’ll be able to get major spending cuts solely in return for raising the debt ceiling;
3) Both sides are wrong, and we breach the debt ceiling, unleashing economic havoc.
Of these three possibilities, I see #1 as the likeliest, #3 as the second-most likely, and #2 as vanishing unlikely.
Here’s my New Year’s resolution: I’m going to read less liberal grousing about Barack Obama. At the moment, we have a number of critics of the deal Obama just cut with the Republicans to avert the fiscal cliff. They make some fair points, about the deal and about Obama. But if there’s a style of criticism that really bugs me, it’s that which reproves him for failing to be Captain Liberal while refusing to recognize that the guy has to be Mister President. Here’s what I mean.Plum Line/Greg Sargent:
And are prospects for gun reform looking up? National Journal has a nice piece rounding up all the “pro-gun” Democrats in Congress who are now very much open to real gun law reform in the wake of the Newtown massacre. It’s another sign that the landscape may have genuinely shifted this time.And here is that NJ piece:
Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., does not shy away from the “pro-gun Democrat” label. He has a B-plus rating with the National Rifle Association, a score docked only because he supported the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and he represents a state with a strong hunting tradition.
But for Casey, last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a pivotal moment. Casey said he found himself emotionally rocked by the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in a way that was different from the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., this summer or in Tucson, Ariz., last year.