|

Conservative pundit sees “collapse of institutional Republican power”

robert-costa-e1350669374881

Robert Costa (above) of the conservative magazine National Review says THIS in an interview with Ezra Klein of The Washington Post:

The thing that makes [House Speaker John] Boehner interesting is he’s very aware of his limited hand. Boehner doesn’t live in an imaginary world where he thinks he’s Tip O’Neill and he can bring people into his office and corral them into a certain vote. So he treads carefully, maybe too carefully. But he knows a clean CR [continuing resolution] has never been an option for him…

[T]here are 30 to 40 true hardliners. But there’s another group of maybe 50 to 60 members who are very much pressured by the hardliners. So he may have the votes on paper. But he’d create chaos. It’d be like fiscal cliff level chaos. You could make the argument that if he brought a clean CR to the floor he might have 100-plus with him on the idea. But could they stand firm when pressured by the 30 or 40 hardliners and the outside groups?

What we’re seeing is the collapse of institutional Republican power. It’s not so much about Boehner. It’s things like the end of earmarks. They move away from Tom DeLay and they think they’re improving the House, but now they have nothing to offer their members. The outside groups don’t always move votes directly but they create an atmosphere of fear among the members. And so many of these members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and tea party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible. Leaders are dealing with these expectations that wouldn’t exist in a normal environment…

I think John Boehner is frustrated by leading the Republicans in the House but I think he very much loves being speaker. To understand him you have to understand that. He gets to the Capitol early. He relishes the job and the position but he doesn’t relish being at odds so often with his members. He loves being a major American political figure, but he’s not a Newt Gingrich-like figure trying to lead the party in a certain direction. He’s just trying to survive and enjoy it while it lasts.

Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA Image

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>