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John Boehner might pass Mitt Romney for title of Biggest Political Loser of 2012

The right-wing zealots in House Speaker John Boehner’s Republican caucus stuffed a big lump of coal into his Christmas stocking last night, thereby placing him in the embarrassing position of needing Democratic votes to get anything done about the fiscal cliff on his watch.

Ezra Klein EXPLAINS:

Has there been a House speaker in modern American history with less control over his members than John Boehner?

Over the past three days, Boehner has focused all attention on “Plan B”: an effort to strengthen his hand in negotiations with President Obama by passing backup legislation that would extend the Bush tax cuts for all income under $1 million.

Tonight, Boehner lost that vote. In a dramatic turn of events on the House floor, he pulled the legislation. In a statement released moments ago, he said, “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass.” Boehner lost.

Plan A, which was a deal with Obama, was put on ice, many believe, because Boehner couldn’t wrangle the votes to pass anything Obama would sign. Plan B failed because Boehner couldn’t wrangle the Republican votes to pass something Obama had sworn he wouldn’t sign.

The failure of Plan B proved something important: Boehner doesn’t have enough Republican support to pass any bill that increases taxes — even one meant to block a larger tax increase — without a significant number of Democrats. The House has now adjourned until after Christmas, but it’s clear now what Plan C is going to have to be: Boehner is going to need to accept the simple reality that if he’s to be a successful speaker, he’s going to need to begin passing legislation with Democratic votes.

There’s an asterisk there, though: It’s not entirely clear whether Boehner will be the speaker of the House a month from today. The vote to elect the next speaker is on Jan. 3. To win, you need an absolute majority of the House, not a plurality. Even a hopeless conservative challenge that attracts only a handful of Republican votes could deny Boehner the speakership until a consensus candidate emerged. Tonight’s vote makes that challenge more likely.

A significant number of Boehner’s members clearly don’t trust his strategic instincts, they don’t feel personally bound to support him, they clearly disagree with his belief that tax rates must rise as part of a deal, and they, along with many other Republicans, must be humiliated after the shenanigans on the House floor this evening. Worse, they know that Boehner knows he’ll need Democratic support to get a budget deal done. That means “a cave,” at least from the perspective of the conservative bloc, is certain. That, too, will make a change of leadership appealing.

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6 Comments

  1. Luke Fredrickson

    The crisis of weak leadership in the GOP continues… so many right wing zealots equate progress with spinelessness, and they have no one left in their “big tent” to educate them otherwise.

    Embracing the concept of better government instead of no government would be a start. Reform instead of revenge.

  2. Boehner is the patsy for McConnell and Cantor who like to rally the Norquist fanatics. The GOP has been handed two gifts and yet fold because it involves a tax increase for the wealthy.

  3. Brian Opsahl

    Eric Cantor I think is trying to undercut Boehner and the mess that was the republican party I swear is doing everything it can to ruin our Country. just to protect there rich donors from paying there fair share that was voted on by the majority of Americans…!!

  4. Brian,

    In your mind, what exactly would a fair share be?

    Where would you draw the line on what income level should pay that fair share?

    Aren’t you at all interested in actually controlling the deficit and reducing our exploding national debt?

  5. Brian Opsahl

    Yes, Absolutly but because the debate is stuck on this issue that is why I broached it that way. You have read my thoughts about how I feel the need for several cuts in Government as a whole. The 39.6 rate I think is the benchmark for what has exploded our economy before. We may not have the exact same results that we from before, But this I know for dam sure is that we do NOT want Romney or that idea anywhere close to what were going to do…The Democrats won the election and ran on raiseing the top rates…so there I answered you…!!

  6. Just further proof, as if we ended any more, that republicans are much better at complaining than running things.

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