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U.S House Speaker John Boehner (L)(R-OH), House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R)(R-VA) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (C)(R-CA) walk appear before the press at the White House following their lunch meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, February 9, 2011.  REUTERS/Jason Reed   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
When the House passed the Violence Against Women Act last week, it was the third time this year that House Speaker John Boehner relied primarily on Democratic votes to pass a piece of legislation. Today, he explained why he supported moving forward with the legislation even though a majority of Republicans opposed it:
"We tried everything we could to get the differences in our conference resolved," Boehner said Tuesday of moving a Democratic version of VAWA last week. "And the fact is they couldn’t resolve their differences. It was time to deal with this issue and we did."
So, according to Boehner, VAWA was a bill that needed to pass, and Republicans weren't capable of coming up with a version that could pass. The solution: push the GOP to the side and let the Democrats lead the way.

But even though Boehner has now allowed three votes so far this year on bills opposed by a majority of the House Republican Conference, he's not actually going against the wishes of his party. It's the exact opposite, in fact—a strategy that Ashley Parker of the New York Times dubbed "Vote No, Hope Yes."

The basic idea of Vote No, Hope Yes is that many Republicans realize that they can't stand in the way of must-pass legislation like the fiscal cliff deal, VAWA or Hurricane Sandy. At the same time, they can't bring themselves to support it, so they try to split the difference by allowing the legislation to come up, and then voting against it while simultaneously hoping it will pass.

As Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution pointed out earlier this year, we know that House Republicans overwhelmingly supported Speaker Boehner's decisions to bring the fiscal cliff and Hurricane Sandy bills up for a vote because they overwhelmingly supported the procedural votes that allowed those bills to move forward. The same was true with VAWA. You can see those votes here, here and here. Republican opposition was in single digits on each vote.

What this means is that Vote No, Hope Yes isn't just a Boehner strategy—it's a strategy with broad support in the House Republican Conference, and it's deeply dysfunctional. Essentially, Republicans are conceding that they are too extreme for the country, at least on some issues, and that on those issues, Democrats should lead the way. The simple solution for Republicans would be to moderate their views, but they are trapped between satisfying their right-wing base and not pissing off a center-left nation, so they give us Vote No, Hope Yes in an attempt to split the difference.

I suppose that Vote No, Hope Yes is a little better than a simple strategy of "no, no, no," but not by much. The fiscal cliff, Hurricane Sandy and VAWA votes never should have been in doubt in the first place. And on things like the sequester, it isn't doing us any good at all. As Republicans have been fond of saying, hope is not a plan. November 2014 can't come soon enough.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:36 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your last sentence gives me great hope! (8+ / 0-)
    November 2014 can't come soon enough.
    Thanks, Jed! :)

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:41:53 AM PST

  •  It's like faking non-orgasm, isn't it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrississippi, TomP, Mr MadAsHell

    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

    by Clem Yeobright on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:49:33 AM PST

  •  "Vote No, Hope Yes" is too mild a name. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, RichM

    I'd suggest "Cover up Now, Propaganda Later"

    Or, "Lie Like a Cheap Watch, Lie Like a Cheap Rug

    Or, "Fuck me? Fuck YOU!"

  •  Now target John Boner for re-election (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, a2nite

    I don't know what it takes but if that means 1,000 calls to the DCCC per day to target John Boner, so be it.

    And this isn't 2010.  I really could care less how deep red John Boner's district is.  Surround all the conservatives and convert them one by one, no matter if it takes 24/7.  Do it soon and start early.

    •  Boehner controlled the redistricting process in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Aquarius40, eztempo

      OH and bought himself a 100% safe district.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:16:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not necessarily (6+ / 0-)

        The Tea Party here in Ohio is already threatening to primary him.

        If he loses to a TeaOP candidate, we may be able to get a Democratic win in his district.

        •  Yes. Tea Party must defeat him (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo
        •  No, if he is primaried by a Tea Party member (0+ / 0-)

          then the Tea Party will pick up the seat. Period, end of story. A lot of people here don't get the district. One of the closest districts in Ohio — and the closest race we didn't win — is Ohio 16 — and the teabagger won, in the Cleveland area. This on e is 20 points more Republican, at least.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:14:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not exactly sure what there is not to get (0+ / 0-)

            John Boner's district isn't any more conservative than say a number of districts in Utah, where my mother grew up in.  Utah of course is known as one of the reddest states in the U.S. and the central ground of the Mormon community considering they founded the state of Utah.

            The only thing I see as preventing anything from happening is that John Boner and his network have a strange hold in his district.

            On the other hand, what if a conservative Democrat ran in 2014 instead of the candidate type like the one who ran in 2010?  Would that be a more likely hood there would be a competitive race?

            Keep in mind that the Democrats did pick up a seat in Idaho where Walt Minnick, the Democratic challenger to then-Republican Congressman Bill Sali, beat Sali for re-election.  However, Minnick's tenure was only two years because the Tea Party caught onto him quick and boy, he didn't prepare himself well, even though he was a conservative Democrat.

      •  Convert the district (0+ / 0-)

        I don't care who has bought the district.  CONVERT THEM ALL.  Get 10,000 people campaigning the whole district and shake up the willies out of the conservatives who have the strangehold on the district and make them go squealing!

        We can do this.

      •  Yes, he did (0+ / 0-)

        And that is probably unconstitutional under the Ohio constitution.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:12:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I do know what it takes (0+ / 0-)

      because this was my #1 race to follow on my Ohio-based blog in 2010. I know it's a lovely dream to think if we just pour enough time, money, staff and volunteers into a blood-red district, we can turn it around. We cannot — not even if we stripped ALL resources from every other race in Ohio, abandoning the five or six or seven better pickup opportunities. (Heck, I'd argue that maybe 9 or 10 of the state's 12 Republican districts are better pickup opportunities than this one).

      In 2010, we had a terrific candidate. He quit his job to campaign fulltime. He raised money, he went on the air. He lost worse than the previous Democrats in that district who raised $3,000 and never campaigned.

      This is NOT a pickup opportunity — and the district is MORE Republican, if possible, than it was in 2010.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:12:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well hey, at least the thought is out there (0+ / 0-)

        I say go with it anyway.  

        Here's another thing.  We had a terrific candidate in 2010, not in 2012.  You may recall 2010 was not a good year for Democrats as they lost seats, including our very own hero Russ Feingold.  I don't think the Democratic candidate in 2010 running against John Boner could have done anything to beat Boner then, even with DCCC support.

        Now come 2014, we might see a different picture.  It depends on what the picture is for Ohio's district that John Boner represents.

        We need to look at things in perspective.  The Tea Party had the upper hand in 2010 but now their activism base is loosing steam, although they have a presence in red districts across the country.  Perhaps if John Boner is defeated in the Republican primaries, we'll see a different picture.

  •  You forgot the third step: (11+ / 0-)

    Vote No, Hope Yes, Blame President Obama.

    “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

    by ahumbleopinion on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:15:25 AM PST

  •  GOP: No Means Yes (6+ / 0-)

    Not where I come from . . .

    If I'm running against one of those GOP no-bombers, I'll ask him/her to name three major bills he/she voted "yes" on. When my opponent can't do it, I'll remind the audience that we don't send representatives to WA to not govern.

    They're not a serious party anymore. -Kos

    by thenekkidtruth on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:34:29 AM PST

  •  Thanks Jed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo
  •  actually, "Vote No, Hope Yes" is a dramatically (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209, stunvegas

    better approach to governance than the Republicant's previous strategy of "no, no no." At least they are allowing votes on a some select things.

    Hopefully, we can get them to come around to a "Sraight up or down vote" on any and every legislative matter. That would be the best approach for the entire country, to at least allow straight up or down votes on legislation, regardless of whether the leadership of either party supports or opposes something. At least we would have something remotely resembly a democratic process.

    •  Do your job (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stunvegas, Batya the Toon, wdrath

      I agree with you that there should be a straight up or down vote on all legislation. An, that illness is the only excuse for missing a vote. These individuals were elected to govern the country, one of the most important jobs there is. If they don't do their job, there should be no pay.

  •  Aren't *they* the ones screaming for "leadership"? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not saying that Obama's Genghis Khan, but Boehner couldn't lead a couple kindergarteners into a game of tag.

    •  House Republicans are almost impossible to lead (0+ / 0-)

      I'm no fan of Mr. Tangerine Man, but I don't think anybody could 'lead' those crazies.

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:17:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  remember that time when all the Ds voted "present" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    political mutt

    and all the goppers had to change their "no" votes to "yes" on the budget . . . ?

    Remember how it made the goppers look like dishonest fools?

    Hmmmm . . . . . . . . .

    •  wait, I think I am mis-remembering . . . (0+ / 0-)
      all the goppers had to change their "no" votes to "yes" on the budget . . . ?
      I think they were all voting for their show budget that they didn't really want to pass, and the Dems voted "present" and made them switch from a "yes" to a "no" . . .

      But I'm on my way out now and can't look it up . . .

  •  I've thought of a solution (0+ / 0-)

    to the problem of gerrymandering leading to extremism.

    It's simple:  in the gerrymandered districts, we vote in the Republican primary (and get other progressives and moderates to do so as well).  We vote for the more moderate, less crazy/extreme candidate.

    My state has a primary which is "open" to unaffiliated voters, but even in a closed primary state, there's nothing to stop us from registering as Republicans.  I know some here felt it was "wrong" to interfere in "their" primary.  I don't buy that.  The primary is for citizens who choose to register with that party.  They choose to register as such because they have a stake in the outcome of the primary!  In a district where a Democrat has no chance or there is no candidate, what are we supposed to do, accept that we've been done out of our voting rights?  NO!  We participate, and choose the candidate that would move the makeup of Congress in the direction we choose.

  •  More evidence for Republican party irrelevance (0+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party is getting something accomplished.
    The Republican circular firing squad continues to circle the drain.

  •  Ah see 2 of them thar 3 "yung guns"... (0+ / 0-)

    whar's Ryan at? Kinda disappeared after getting his butt whupped in November.I hope these "masterminds" of the GOP get nothing but TPers elected in primaries so they lose to Democrats in November.

  •  Sounds like Johnny's strategy for... (0+ / 0-)

    the midterms... the american people will vote No, and he hopes to stay Speaker... good luck with that.  

    "Really nice, but also very serious about his job." Jackie Evancho on President Obama 6/7/12

    by BarackStarObama on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:26:59 PM PST

  •  As Claire McCaskill said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunvegas, eztempo

    when Mitch McConnell filibustered his own bill in the Senate:
    "I've got whiplash!"

  •  Gee, someone should point this out to the public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunvegas

    What we get instead is nonsense like "John Boehner said today that the inability of the House to do anything was all someone else's fault." Without qualification, or even the slightest bit of curiosity about whether that bald-faced lie was in fact a bald-faced lie.

    Congress' approval ratings indicate that most people have caught on to this ongoing bullshit parade. When are the highly-paid folks who yak away on the teevee and the reddy-o going to figure it out?

  •  What exactly does "leadership" mean in the (0+ / 0-)

    binary Republican brain? It seems to be equated with coercion. So, when Republicans call for leadership from Obama, they are asking to be coerced.

    Apparently, coercion is not inconsistent with freedom. An individual being dragged along by his hair (figuratively speaking) is still free to resist. Following or giving in would be being unfree.

    Resistance = freedom?

    If so, then does consent = slavery?

    It makes sense, if all definitions are self-centered and it's the idea, not the reality, that counts.

    I suppose this goes some way towards explaining the Cons' preference for fees over taxes. It's the idea of taxes that is objectionable; money extracted in some other way is fine.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 02:13:43 PM PST

  •  Conservative base (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo

    I have read a lot of comment on the Republican party and its self analysis, but I haven't seen any questioning of the so-called base. If your "base" is driving you to an untenable, unelectable position far to the right of the voters, is that really a voting "base"? Is that where you want to build your party's foundation?

    I don't think so.

    •  "Hoisted on their own petard" fits well. (0+ / 0-)

      The Koch brothers-funded ALEC schooled state legislators on how to gerrymander representatives' districts to make them "safe" Republican as well as increase the number of Republican districts.  Seems the effect of this was to concentrate their far-right, religious activists in now-energized districts, shifting the weight of their primary electorate farther to the "no-compromises" fringe.

      I'm wondering if the Republican Party has polling data that's granular enough to craft "leans Republican" districts that are somewhat conservative, fiscally (their Establishment core value), but more moderate socially?  If so, some sophisticated re-drawing may bring their Party out of the whack-job wilderness.

      Somehow I doubt they'd be comfortable shaving the difference toward the middle, though.  That may make districts look more contested; move 'em out of their comfort zone.

      Ah, well, I guess we'll just have to drub them and then re-draw them out of existence.  Tom Delay's Texas in reverse.

  •  Hastert Rule Violation Votes (0+ / 0-)

    The great thing about these votes is it provides a ready-made list of Republican House members that the Democrats can target in 2014.

    The Democrats need what, 17 more seats? There are usually 50 to 80 Republicans that vote with the Democrats in these Hastert Rule violation votes. Those are the guys in unsafe districts.

  •  ... (0+ / 0-)

    Like a clock of a certain kind, the Republicans were right, in this instance, to oppose certain provisions of the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act; namely, the fact that the Indian Tribal Courts provision (depriving accused offenders opportunities to challenge the constitutionality of their treatment in Federal courts) clearly violated the Due Process clause of the United States Constitution.

    Giving persons accused of crimes an opportunity to make a constitutional challenge in a United States Federal Court is nothing new; in fact, the constitutionality of any person's treatment in a criminal case based on any Federal or State law in the entire country can be challenged in Federal court. It's incorrect to say that, if a non-Indian is on trial for a crime in an Indian court, giving him Due Process rights would mean that you're "removing protections for Native American women" or anything of the sort. The accused offenders will still be tried and convicted if found guilty, one way or another; it's just that they're entitled to the same constitutional rights, if they need to exercise them, that any other person would be. It's extremely important that women on tribal grounds be protected, as the current laws have historically been deeply flawed, but there's absolutely no reason as to why you can't both help these women and maintain due process as we do with all other criminal matters.

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