Not Just “Unconditional”, A Faceplant Surrender

NEW SLAUGHTERSo, it has come to this. A complete, unconditional, unequivocal faceplant surrender by John Boehner. I should feel more Schadenfreude and vindication than I do.

A few thoughts on the truly ridiculous debacle we’ve just lived through (and may have to live through again in January).

1:  Can a major political party get any closer to the life-or-death decision of whether to self-amputate a body part than the Republicans are today? I keep thinking about Utah hiker Aaron Ralston, sawing off his own arm from under an immovable boulder in order to live to hike another day. The Tea Party has made the Republican party an object of ridicule and contempt with truly perilous consequences for even “moderate”-but-enabling characters like John Kline and Eric Paulsen here in Minnesota.

But who wields the knife? There is no accepted leadership, much less any apparent momentum to re-write the party’s rules for caucuses and primaries. Or rather, I should say, actual leadership rests with the likes of ex-Senator-turned-think tanker/super lobbyist Jim DeMint at the Heritage Foundation, along with a half dozen other money machines who keep well out of view of the average voter. They are the mother’s milk of the Tea Party. They put the bullets in the “even-further right” primary threats, and it isn’t yet clear if they see the Tea Party as a spent force they need to abandon.

2:  For all the simplistic criticism of cable “news” shows, it is striking that they are the only outlets regularly factoring in the effect these very wealthy groups have on the calculations being made by people like Boehner. For example: Boehner isn’t merely worried about “losing his speakership”, which makes it sound as though his only problem is not being able to withstand the wrath of the GOP’s nutball caucus. He also has to factor in losing his entire career. Failing to fight the fight as DeMint, etc. want it fought, also carries the threat that he will be persona non grata after he leaves Congress, which is where 40%-50% of these guys go to finally make the big money they regard as their due after working for minimum wage in elected office.

Point being, better political reporting in daily papers and on local TV would make regular reference to this kind of influence, especially in this post Citizens United world. It is a powerful reality.

3:  The Tea Party will not vanish tomorrow.  The business plan of the right-wing’s astonishingly lucrative entertainment-news complex is founded on selling misinformation, rage and ersatz patriotism to sad chumps, almost all of whom will be more radicalized in abject defeat. These people are susceptible the message of Rush Limbaugh, FoxNews and the local wannabes because they feel the era of white exceptionalism slipping away. They now have even stronger motivation to shut out the enemy and cluster together.

4: Don’t bet on big Democratic gains in the 2014 election. Memories, even of something as stupid as this, are short. While John Kline may have a problem in Minnesota, (grabbing his ankles for the for-profit college gamers is enough for me), Paulsen and the Sixth District are still pretty safe. Likewise, all those deep red, rural Southern and Mountain West districts.  But … 15 House seats is not an impossible number, and God knows the GOP has handed its opponents no end of sound bites and craven votes for attack ads.

5: I’m justifiably cynical about modern conservatives, but even I can’t imagine the Republicans allowing the nutters to drag them back into another one of these fiascos in January. The game now is leveraging GOP weakness to get government spending back to real world levels.

18 thoughts on “Not Just “Unconditional”, A Faceplant Surrender

  1. jpricco says:

    My take on Boehner is that he knows that not towing the line of Demint and the radical right will force many of his majority into being primaried by far right candidates, in districts like Paulson’s or others in the north and border states and out west , this could result in losses to competitive Moderate Dems in those districts, ala the Senate race in Missouri in 2012. 15 to 20 seats is indeed not much.

  2. Jockomo Feenanay says:

    Among the troubling parts of this story was the news that surfaced Tuesday that Boehner isn’t even in charge of the show. The house quietly passed rules that made Eric Cantor the only person who could call a vote on ending the shutdown.

    While some see this as a move to prevent Democrats from calling for a vote, it feels to me far more like Boehner being neutered. I suspect when he said “we don’t have the votes to reopen the government,” he was being politically honest — there may have been enough votes to pass the bill, but not enough support from the people who hijacked the process.

    But, who knows? It is common practice in Washington to hold votes merely to get people on the record of being for or against something — so perhaps the logic is that the GOP didn’t want candidates to face campaign ads saying “Representative X voted three times to continue the crippling government shutdown.” (While I’m sure they’re already writing ads saying “Democrat representative Y voted 43 times to keep Obamacare alive….”)

    Beyond that, the short term nature of the fix has to be a worry — but at least it isn’t the crazier House version that would have the show restarted two weeks before Christmas.

  3. PM says:

    The key issue for every Democratic candidate in 2014 and 2016 is to refer back to this episode and ask if this is how you want your country run…because this is what your government looks like with GOP control. I envision something like this:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Flickr_-_cyclonebill_-_Spejl%25C3%25A6g.jpg&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_Your_Brain_on_Drugs&h=768&w=1024&sz=122&tbnid=rKwO4V9yQJa8qM:&tbnh=100&tbnw=133&zoom=1&usg=__dEtqMPlQt0Ur41gCC6rqYdJeVzs=&docid=uLxQsB0XPgfKHM&sa=X&ei=N8VeUsGsDMGlrAHW6YCQBw&ved=0CDgQ9QEwAA

  4. bertram jr. says:

    Well, now let’s get back to the real story – AP’s 5 kids with 4 baby mama’s…oh, sorry, there’s a local media blackout on that one….

  5. bertram jr. says:

    The REAL story, one that the shut down has shunted aside (intentionally done, again, by the lapdog Obamamedia) – the utter disaster that is the ACA.

  6. Jeremy Powers says:

    The Republican’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act is the single stupidest thing I have seen in my political life. First, it isn’t a medical care law. It’s an insurance coverage law. So Death Panels and the rest yacked about by the lowest common denominator Republicans – that would be virtually all of them – is complete hokum and yet still gets some national media coverage. That’s Betram’s Obamamedia! If the ACA is so awful, the Republicans would just let it happen and watch the implosion, say I told you so and win the next ten elections. But now that people have gotten through most of the bullshit – except for the Tea Party faction – they’re liking it. Liking it a lot. So the two reasons for the wish to delay was to, 1., move it closer to the next election so all the lies can get spread again, and 2., not let the millions of people who need it get in time to see what a positive change it will make in their lives.

    ANYONE who votes for a Republican in the next election, should have their head examined, be ashamed of themselves, not breed and be prosecuted for aiding a terrorist organization.

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