Boehner Chooses and Loses

Given the choice between his job and his country, John Boehner chose his job. He may have lost both.

The failure of Speaker Boehner’s “Plan B” proposal for avoiding the fiscal cliff has dramatically weakened the Ohio Republican, and called into question his ability to continue on as the highest-ranking Republican in politics.

Boehner was forced to push the plan when talks with President Barack Obama broke down earlier in the week. According to Democratic sources, Boehner and Obama were close to a deal that would have cut taxes on all income less than $400,000 per year, and slowed the growth of Social Security spending. The deal fell apart when Boehner returned to the House to find that his caucus would not support it. Boehner could have violated the unwritten “Hastert Rule,” and brought the bill up for a vote anyhow, in the belief that enough Republicans would support it that it could pass with Democratic support.

Instead, Boehner rushed to save face with conservatives who were in open revolt over his willingness to work with Obama, and forced him to come up with a plan that would help him keep moving forward, and just maybe, help him keep his job.

The “Plan B” that Boehner proposed was made up of draconian cuts in aid to the needy, combined with tax policy that would have benefited the rich at the expense of the poor. Still, it did include a nominal rate increase on income greater than $1 million, allowing Republicans to argue that they had addressed some of the issues, and the ball was now in the Democrats’ court.

Unfortunately for Boehner, even this plan was unacceptable to a significant part of his caucus. With House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denying Republicans any Democratic support for the measure, Boehner was forced to get a majority of the House out of his own caucus.

He couldn’t. A package of spending cuts designed to keep the Pentagon funded at the expense of the poor barely passed, and it soon became clear that despite earlier assurances, Boehner simply lacked the votes to get Plan B through. In a tearful address to a closed-door meeting of Republicans, Boehner recited the Serenity Prayer before announcing that he was pulling the bill from the floor, allowing it to die without the embarrassment of a floor defeat.

The decision left the House Republican Caucus in chaos. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., shouted angrily at fellow members, “Really? We can’t support our speaker?” Meanwhile, a number of conservative members skipped the caucus meeting altogether, deciding instead to go out for gumbo.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. The House has recessed until after Christmas, and it’s unclear whether it will meet again before the term expires. If not, we will go over the fiscal cliff, at least for a few days, until the new Congress comes together.

Boehner, meanwhile, faces the difficult task of holding onto his gavel in the wake of the most stinging defeat of his tenure. While his most likely challenger, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., worked with him to try to get Plan B passed, there remain a number of conservatives who are interested in challenging the Speaker. It wouldn’t take much; the House elects the Speaker by majority vote. Boehner’s majority will be reduced to 234 members. It would take just 17 members defecting and refusing to vote for Boehner to keep him from being reelected on the first ballot.

Even if Boehner survives, he’s been dramatically weakened. It’s clear that he can’t deliver his caucus, and without that, a Speaker’s power is meaningless. Boehner was left to say that a solution to the fiscal cliff was now in the hands of Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. That’s pretty much right; it’s now clear that Democrats will author the plan to avert the cliff, and that Democrats in the House will work to find enough Republicans to pass it. Boehner has been sidelined.

That leaves the Republicans in a lousy position. Their highest-ranking legislative officer has been exposed as a figurehead. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can put up some road blocks, but he’s powerless to actually get legislation through his chamber. Essentially, the Republicans have forfeited their chance to influence legislation. Whether or not Boehner keeps his job, his influence in Washington is gone.

 

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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

190 comments

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

Dude, the peyote is to be consumed carefully....
......delicately.....
....not mainlined with a syringe the size of a baseball bat.

Let's see, you started with the mental age of a 6th grader, and then you felt the need to do drugs on top of that?!!! I understand though, you need to hide the pain of the drubbing you took at the election......afterall, how can so many people NOT believe your perfectly good delusion, right??

But do let your family take care of you. We want you back on your feet in time for the 2014 elections....you are the very posterchild for a [D] takeover of the House. And we are counting on you to do as good a job advertising rightwing stupidity as you did in this past election. Thanks for your help!

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

Causes: "Re-educate victims of the state media"

Wow. Such arrogance melded with regressive, dogma-driven propaganda is rarely seen elevated to this level. And given that the writer is himself merely an obedient parrot for his rightwing media lords, makes the hypocrisy thick enough to cut with a knife.

I predict that this level of delusion is clinically diagnosable. Let's hope his family is keeping a keen eye on him.

Mary B.
Mary B.3 years ago

David F......I have never heard the name "BOZO" used..... Anyone has the right to disagree with another post.......Michael's posts were factual and almost always had references.......The difference between his posts and mine was that he always called it like he saw it.......We Canadians tend to be a bit "reserved"......I miss his posts because I almost always learned something and we are never too old to learn
David, if the posts from Cletus W. remind you of Michael then I would say to you they are BOTH very learned folks.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

A 72 year-old woman......named Michael.......with BoZo lips?!!!!? Really??

Wow! They must be handing out peyote at the Dumbf**kistani border these days. It must help ease the pain the Teatard true-believers are feeling over the results from the last election. But, man, just look at the side effects......

I do admit to not using the word 'ignorant' much in this case, other than it be preceeded by 'purposeful'. More accurately...
STUPID (adj): slow of mind; obtuse; unthinking; irrational; lacking intelligence or reason; brutish.

BINGO!!!!

Again, why is it that the supposedly fiscally-all-powerful House [R]s have not had THEIR budgets/bills passed into law.....?

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

Mary B.: Look at it this way. David F. wants to minimize your remarks about US policy supposedly because you are not a citizen. I see his point, because -- by his own logic -- all of us should then minimize his remarks on Obama and the [D]s because, afterall, he is not a member of the [D] party.

Well, maybe you Canadians can agree with David on one point: perhaps America IS too LIBERAL. Afterall, what else could explain the fact that such a broken moral compass and purposeful ignorance has a national right to vote and procreate?

What a funny little bunny!

Cletus W.
Cletus W.3 years ago

Diane L. -- You seem to be a late-comer to noticing the deluded stylings of David F. on Care2, and so your first instinct to protect him from rough handling on here is commendable. But I see that you are now starting to appreciate that providing such service could be a fool's errand, much akin to helping the fox avoid abuse from the farmer by letting it into the hen house.

Please understand that many of us have already long witnessed his role as a serial abuser of facts and history, as a knee-jerk apologist for the full spectrum of rightwing bafoonery -- from harmless inanity and name-calling to the worse kind of socio-political malignancy. We have called him on his behavior many times and attempted to engage him in cogent debate, but he is as resistant to that as a stubborn flu bug.

As just one example, you need only refer to the item that I am now throwing in his face: the fact that he had mindlessly boasted that the [R] House alone controls the federal purse strings (an inanity that even a middle-schooler with a civics lesson under his/her belt could recognize)....yet with blatant hypocrisy he blames every [D] whose name he can spell for not getting a budget done. Clearly, IF [R]s were in control, their budget would already be law of the land.

Anyhow, I'm sure you will continue to disagree with my methods, and I respect that. But please respect my efforts at addressing mindless rightwing malignancy where ever it rears its ugly head.

Mary B.
Mary B.3 years ago

David F......the difference is that I would not call you "foreigner" (I can't speak for Dorothy but I'm thinking she has way too much class for that)......to you the use of that word is almost a slur.......Canadians have freedom of speech as well David and this is a public forum.......It's you who is determined to spread your words to all who would listen .....I don't think I have ever seen you write a positive comment

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Hmmmm, Janet, I may have a bit of "insight" into your accusation about "49 Christmas trees". I just watched Nightline where Barbara Walters interviewed the Obamas. You fail to take into consideration that The White House is a huge PUBLIC building that has dozens, if not hundreds of rooms and thousands of visitors/tourists go thru all the time. It's not unusual for the First Lady (of whatever administration is occupying the building) to have a tree in every room where the public is allowed. Michelle truly enjoys entertaining the public, specifically children. Why would you resent that? Do you honestly think Ann Romney would only have put one tree in the White House? She's far more extravagant than Michelle Obama, even if she claims to shop at Costco.

Maureen Heartwood

"Capitolisim"

What an interesting misspelling, nicely representative of getting political systems and economic systems hopelessly mixed up, a very real problem in the States, as indeed in other places.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Janet B., you can ask for respect to worship whatever faith you choose, but seriously, what planet are you getting your poitical facts from? WHAT $4 million dollar trips to Hawaii (and if that is even close, I'll bet that includes the cost for everything including fuel for Air Force One and the S.S., reporters and complete staff) that are not official business? What 49 Christmas trees? What "attitude about God"? Barrack and Michelle are Christians. They also don't push their religious views on you, me or anyone else.

I'm thinking because you are Mormon, you're pouting about your boy, Mittens losing the election, nothing more.