We’re Going Over the Cliff
Another example — and they’re daily at this point — of why I think the US is about to take a dive:
A group of House Republican conservatives – incensed by its leadership’s purge of dissenters from House committees and increasingly worried about talks with the White House – put Speaker John A. Boehner on notice Wednesday that he could face trouble from the far right if he backs any deficit deal that raises taxes…
Representative Jeff Landry of Louisiana, just defeated for re-election by a fellow Republican, Representative Charles Boustany Jr., blamed Mr. Boehner for the fiscal crisis now confronting Washington. Representative Cynthia M. Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, said she would rather see the nation go over the “fiscal cliff” than embrace a deal that President Obama could accept. And Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, who was removed from the House Agriculture Committee for failing to fall in line with Republican leadership, said the vast majority of his district wanted him to oppose Mr. Boehner’s re-election as speaker.
“If Speaker Boehner wants to come back to my district, he’s not going to be met with very much welcome,” said Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan and another subject of the purge.
To a significant degree, this is the same dynamic that turned last year’s debt-ceiling negotiations into an economy-crippling clusterfuck. At heart, it’s not very complicated.
No person is an island, sure. But a Speaker of the House is a different thing than a person. It’s a politician. And John Boehner is living proof that — even when clothed in immense power! — a Speaker who wanders too far from his caucus is an island. Islands don’t get to keep the big gavel, and John Boehner really loves the big gavel.
So until you start seeing reports that indicate GOPers in the House are willing to sign-on to a deal, be it grand or mundane, don’t take any of the back-and-forth between the president and Boehner too seriously. Despite official titles and congressional tradition suggesting otherwise, it’s not Boehner’s call.
[x-posted @ Jubilee]