Commentary on Republicans, Libertarians & Politics

Boehner’s Move Backfires, Splits Republicans Further

John Boehner saw his announcement of resigning from his position of Speaker of the House as leading to more unity in the Republican Party. However it seems to be having the opposite effect as pointed out in a NY Times article.

His move has made the hard right Congressmen and Presidential candidates even more emboldened than even before. The Republicans think of themselves as disciplined and orderly, but they have been anything but recently.

The top 3 Republican presidential candidates have never run for or held an elected position before. Dozens of the Congressmen were elected in 2010 or 2012 and were elected with the goal of dramatically reducing the size of the federal government.

And the Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited political donations has allowed billionaires to back individual candidates and has reduced the influence of the national party.

The dramatic split in the Republican Party is going to make it even harder for any legislation to get passed, particularly anything of significance.

Rather than Boehner’s departure smoothing differences, it seems like both sides are digging in and getting more intransigent. The more mainstream Republicans (it would be hard to call any Republican moderate anymore) are starting to push back at the tactics of the hard right. They say their tactics have accomplished nothing and have cost the Republican Party and sullied its reputation.

John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio who is running for president, asks if the hard right are just yelling and screaming. They were elected to get something accomplished and they have been ineffective at best and disruptive and having a negative impact at worst.

Many Republicans are so focussed on career politicians being bad and wanting a turnover in leadership that Marco Rubio, Senator and presidential candidate and career politician is trying to portray himself as a change agent.

The hard line group has about 50 members. That is not enough to get anything done and they have not put any reasonable candidate forward for Speaker who is electable by the whole House. It is expected that Boehner’s number two, Kevin McCarthy will succeed him as Speaker.

The hardliners feel that there hasn’t been any real change and wanted to shut the government down again but were thwarted by the Republican leadership and the Democrats. The leadership felt it would just hurt the Republicans again, just like the last time.

The hardliners are likely to try and prevent raising the debt limit and to shut down the Import Export bank.

Politicians are supposed to be expert in the art of dialogue and compromise. The hardliners don’t seem to have any clue about either concept. They are just angry that the Republicans don’t have 60 people in the Senate to prevent Democratic filibusters and they don’t have a two thirds majority in the House to be able to override a presidential veto. They just seem to be stewing in their own juices. And because of their vitriol, they are making it ever less likely that they will get the 60 or the two thirds. To get those extra seats, they need to pick up more seats in swing states. They are so short sighted and idealistic that they don’t even seem to realize that they are hurting themselves and their goals. One Republican fundraiser says that moving further to the right is suicidal.

Perhaps they should realize there is a reason that billionaires want them in office. Did they ever stop to think that perhaps that they were being used by the billionaires and against the population in general?

One congressman said they should come together and come up with a plan before they come up with a person. Good idea but he probably won’t be listened to.

In the presidential election, the candidates have a tightrope to walk. They need to keep the base energized, they don’t want to upset the large donors who don’t want to lose three presidential elections in a row, and they also need to be able to appeal to enough independents to win in the general election. Tough to do. The fundraiser said that if Ted Cruz was the Republican nominee for president that that they would lose in 45 states. He feels a peace maker and bridge builder is needed and not a flame thrower.

Some people feel that because of this that people like Jeb Bush will bounce back in the presidential race. They say though that if the hardliners shut the government down, the Republicans can kiss the presidential general election goodbye.

 

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