January 3rd


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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33 Responses

  1. zic says:

    So are there 17 sane Republicans in the house, sane enough to vote for a democratic speaker?

    I doubt it.

    But thanks for encouraging the fantasy, at least for a moment or two.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to zic says:

      Oh, I don’t believe for one second that Nancy Pelosi would get a single vote outside of the Democratic caucus.

      But if Boehner doesn’t win an outright majority (assuming he’s even nominated, which isn’t a given at this point), there is no Speaker, until they come up with one that’s acceptable to a majority.

      That’s 218 votes. I don’t see 218 Dem votes, and I don’t see 218 tea party votes, and I don’t see 218 non-tea-party GOP votes. Of course, I’m not sure how strong the tea-party-affiliation vs. the non-tea-party-affiliation break is.

      I see it being highly possible that a majority can’t happen if the tea party digs in its feet, as they’ve been doing both on the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling… unless the 110 non-tea-party-affiliated GOP members and the Dems come up with something else.

      Could make for a very interesting January.Report

      • zic in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        My guess is that Boehner will get the votes he needs; mostly because whomever is elected speaker will have to make some sort of bargain, and anyone who actually wants a future in senate/presidential politics doesn’t want that to their credit.Report

      • North in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        It won’t be as complicated as that, alas, Pat.

        If the Tea Party wing selects a politician and it’s one of the leadership cadre, Cantor or even Ryan for instance, the entire GOP conference will dump Boehner and throw their support behind the alternative candidate. Count on it. They won’t go without the speakership out of loyalty to Boehner. The only way I see a speaker less outcome is if the TP wing somehow divides between different candidates or if they want the support of some TP candidate who’s completely toxic to the rest of the conference. I don’t think that’s likely. The TP will be fine with having a new speaker who’s done his time and paid his dues. The new speaker will know who he owes his position to.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

          I still think Boehner is most likely, but if not Boehner , than Ryan, who can get both TP and mainstream GOP votes.Report

          • I don’t see Ryan accepting it. I think he’ll angle for chair of Ways and Means, where he gets a chance to supervise a complete rewrite of the tax code… not that it will get passed, but it will play very well for his run for the presidential nomination in 2016.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to North says:

          You have to have a Speaker, as far as I know. They will have to duke something out.

          Imagine Boehner loses the nomination bid, or (even better for punditry) he gets the nomination bid because he has a majority of the 234 Republicans, but he loses the Speaker vote because 17 or more Tea Party folk don’t vote for him. So now you have the first vote gone by, and the House has to figure out who to nominate next.

          You’re one of those 110 non-tea-party-affiliated GOPers. Your choice is to vote for Cantor as Speaker? Let’s say Cantor has the 134 tea-party-affiliated House members in the bag. He needs 218, so he needs 84 of the remaining GOP members. Can 27 of the 110 drop out of lock-step?

          Is anything not possible, right now?

          This is the guy that likely kaboshed Plan B and will likely drive the debt ceiling negotiation to the wall.Report

      • Lyle in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Note that in 1855 and 1859 the house was not able to elect a speaker for a period, as well as having to take 2 votes in 1917 and 1931. The nineteenth century cases relate to the breakdown of the whigs and the rise of the republicans.
        So it has happened before and will happen again.Report

        • zic in reply to Lyle says:

          So much of this stems from the fear of a primary challenge to the right.

          I fervently hope for election challenges from the center-right Republicans. Conservatives need some better options.

          You give me some hope that something will rise to replace the Republicans that replaced the Whigs. Something.

          Doesn’t seem worth holding my breath, however.Report

  2. David Ryan says:

    Also it is my and my wife’s 16th wedding anniversary.Report

  3. Tod Kelly says:

    I will be surprised if it isn’t Boehner.

    But who the hell knows, these days.Report

  4. North says:

    -Pelosi won’t be speaker. Period. None of the GOP who would even consider opposing Boehner would ever countenance Pelosi as speaker.

    -A great deal depends on what Boehner does next. His plan B fig leaf failed spectacularly. Obama’s hand has been greatly strengthened because the GOP is now pretty much locked in to wear it if we go over the fiscal cliff. Boehner now has some options:
    A: he straps on his helmet and braces for the cliff and a massive fight over the debt ceiling increase. This will pretty much assure his re-election as speaker.
    B: he tries to cut a deal with Obama/Dems to do some kind of compromise bill. We’re talking something really close to what Obama is offering if not exactly what he’s offering. Then Boehner brings it to a vote and it passes with some GOP votes and Pelosi delivering the rest. If Boehner does this his speakership is in serious peril. The right wing of his party will pitch a monster fit. Not only is their debt ceiling fight postponed for years but the GOP will have then literally voted to raise taxes (side show of course is if Grover decides to simply deem it not so like he did for the plan B vote). Boehner isn’t going to get their votes. He won’t get Dem votes for speaker so then it’s a question of wheeling and dealing. If some non-Boehner politician breaks ranks with Boehner and can get the right wings support then the rest of the party will unify behind him and they’ll dump Boehner and vote the new Speaker in. Cantor springs to mind for instance.

    -Prediction wise I have no doubt that Boehner cares about remaining speaker more than he cares about the welfare of the party or the country so I would expect that we’ll be going over the cliff. Then we find out if GOP will actually have the spine to vote against the “Obama tax cuts”. We’ll also have an epic ugly debt ceiling fight on our hands.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to North says:

      I have to admit, after watching the “filibuster your own bill” and the “Plan B failure” in the recent history, if I’m the Democratic caucus I’m having some really interesting meetings, right now.

      Because… if the GOP goes first, and nominates Cantor, you could really make things interesting by nominating Boehner instead of Pelosi…Report

      • Heh. I had this exact thought.Report

      • North in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I’d laugh my ass off. But the Dems would never do something that mischievous.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to North says:

          I would do it. It would be impossible to pass up the opportunity. You’d go down in history for political outmaneuvering. You don’t get many shots at that.

          Especially if the Dems nominated Boehner and he won.

          I get Shaz’s point about getting primaried, but let’s face it… not every GOP district is in thrall to the Tea Party. And if we go off the cliff? AND we have another debt ceiling crisis?

          I expect Tea Party candidates to suddenly find it quite difficult to find big pocket donors.

          If I’m a non-tea-party GOP congresscritter, I’m making serious phone calls right now.Report

    • Shazbot5 in reply to North says:

      This seems about right to me, with a small caveat.

      Boehner could’ve easily given the tea party majority of the party what they wanted already: a public demand for more cuts from Obama, and a public statement that taxes won’t be raised at all, and no back room dealing to work for compromise.

      If all Boehner wanted was to keep his speakership, he could’ve done that. Instead, he has moderated his position somewhat, offering Obama deals, proposing plan B, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the is reason to think this means that -as North puts it- he has “the best interests of the country” in mind. Rather, I suspect he is getting a tremendous amount of pressure from the business community to do a deal.

      Truth be told the tea part are ideologues on the taxes, but the rich, and the titans of finance and the corporate world are largely okay with having their taxes raised slightly im exchange for sound governmental policy to keep the economy improving. Most elected representatives in the party have gone tea-party rogue, but the leadership of the party still is influenced heavily by the sort of old “north eastern, pro-business” Republican mindset. And people of that mindset want Obama’s deal (or something close) and they have a lot to offer Boehener.

      But Boehner can’t quite fight a battle against the tea party. They have too much power in the party. It’s one of the messiest political situations we’ve seen in decades, IMO. It’s not clear that it has a solution.Report

      • North in reply to Shazbot5 says:

        You’re quite right Shazbot.
        Boehner has been trying to finesse this. If he’d only cared about his job he’d have simply declared there would be no deal to increase taxes and that was that. Problem was he knew that if he did that the GOP would be blamed as intransigent and fanatical and they’d suffer from business community support and be setting themselves up to lose the House in 2014. Plan B was an attempt at a fig leaf. “See, we’re not fanatical, we passed a tax increase, it’s mean ol’ Obama who’s not compromising”. Problem is it blew up in his face.Report

  5. greginak says:

    ” straight majority” I’m not sure who will get a majority, but we can be sure it will be very very straight.Report

  6. Kim says:

    Betting on Cantor. Pelosi would NEVER have been stupid enough to let a Big Theater vote fail spectacularly.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kim says:

      Oh, I can’t see Boehner surviving as the GOP nomination.

      Tea Party candidates outnumber the traditional GOP at this point. Something’s gotta give.Report

  7. Burt Likko says:

    Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. If Boehner is not acceptable to a majority of the GOP caucus, then the job falls to the next person in line. That would be Eric Cantor.

    If Cantor is unacceptable, then Kevin McCarthy can bridge the Tea Party versus mainstream gap. He’s not in the Tea Party but comes from an area of California (Bakersfield) with lots of Tea Party constituents.

    No Republican in the House would vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker under any circumstances. Each and every one of them would sooner eat bowlfuls of broken glass fragments.Report

  8. Does a “straight majority” mean a majority of all house members or just a majority of all present? Could there be a number of reps who simply just don’t show up to vote? [Not that any would refuse to show up.]

    Also, are there still any disputed seats that might temporarily revise the numbers game by one or two House votes?

    Is there any provision for a “speaker pro tem”? I don’t imagine there is, but I don’t know.

    Is the “straight majority” requirement a constitutional one or a feature of the House rules? I don’t think I found anything in article I about it other than that the House shall “chuse” a speaker….is there some mode of constitutional interpretation that means the chusing must be done by a straight majority? I understand that each House of the legislature sets its own rules of procedure, couldn’t the House revise the rules for choosing a speaker in a pinch? In other words, could the GOP reps push through a rule that the person with the most votes (as opposed to the person with a straight majority) shall be speaker, and then proceed to divide themselves on a who they vote for?Report

  9. John Howard Griffin says:

    It is obvious that Boehner’s eleven-dimensional chess is much stronger than we realized. Everything that has occurred has been according to his plan.

    He’s really just setting up Cantor, et al, for a major fail.

    Boehner will be nominated, then decline. Cantor will step up and take the nomination. They’ll vote in Cantor overwhelmingly. New Blood Tea Party takes control of the party from the Old Guard.

    All the blame for the coming catastrophe(s) will then fall squarely on Cantor and Ryan and the New Blood.

    Boehner’s just setting them all up for a fall. This is going to be vicious.


  10. BlaiseP says:

    Will the GOP fall into the hands of the Tea Parties? Has it already fallen into their hands? If the party has no effective leadership, sounds to me like the end of the Book of Joshua: In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes..

    There’s no putting the GOP Humpty Dumpty back together again. While they were in opposition to Obama, they were able to hang together. Give them a majority, they don’t know what to do with the mandate. Seems to me, in the larger scheme of things, the minority party preaches Ideals and the majority party preaches Compromise. But in the House of Representatives, the GOP simply can’t get beyond its old idealistic rhetoric to master the culinary arts of Cooking Lao Tzu’s Small Fish.Report

  11. Jesse Ewiak says:

    Offered while setting up the fainting couches for David Brooks and some people here –


    “Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.

    At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”

    “You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”


    The president repeatedly reminded Mr. Boehner of the election results: “You’re asking me to accept Mitt Romney’s tax plan. Why would I do that?” At another point, the speaker noted his GOP majority would also return next year.Report