It’s kinda like whack-a-mole. Maybe whack-a-whacko?
According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, 72% of the country opposes shutting down major activities of the federal government as a way to stop the Affordable Care Act from being put into place. Despite this and despite the fact that there are enough votes in the House to pass the “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government sent to them by the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner will not allow the vote to be taken.
Keep in mind that, as I said this morning, the current budget sequestration cuts that are continued under the clean CR are actually a major win for the Republicans and are, more or less, the Paul Ryan austerity budget plan put into practice, even though he and his running mate’s were soundly defeated last November. It may be harming the economy, costing us jobs, and working against deficit reduction but it is, at the end of the day, the Republicans’ plan.
Here’s Harry Reid talking about how this is actually a huge compromise on the part of Democrats despite the cries about how “THEY WON’T COMPROMISE OR NEGOTIATE!!! coming from the GOP:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reneged on a deal they hashed out in private earlier this year to pass a “clean” stopgap bill funding the government.
Reid said Boehner never wanted to wage a protracted battle over ObamaCare as part of the negotiations to keep the government running.
“I know that that’s not the path he preferred,” Reid said. “I know that because we met the first week we came back in September and he told me that what he wanted was a clean CR and the $988 [billion] number.
“We didn’t like the 988 number. We didn’t like it but we negotiated. That was our compromise,” Reid added. “The exact bill that he now refuses to let the House vote on. That was our negotiation.” [...]
Reid said he didn’t have to twist Boehner’s arm to get a preliminary deal on a clean stopgap.
“He twisted mine a little bit to get that number,” Reid said.
“Now he refused to let his own party vote because he’s afraid to stand up to something he originally agreed to,” he added.
So, when you hear these conservative talking points repeated ad nauseum about how the Democrats won’t negotiate or compromise, it’s a load of bovine excrement: those negotiations and compromises have already taken place.
It’s pretty clear why John Boehner won’t allow the vote to come up. If he does, he knows it will pass and the handful of tea partarians in Congress will be so pissed off that they will replace him as Speaker of the House. Most Democrats are fine with that. They can’t stand John Boehner and for very good reasons.
But it’s worth considering what happens if he is replaced. If he’s replaced, it’s going to be a tea partarian that takes his place and we’re going to actually be worse off than we are now. More gridlock. More refusal to compromise. More austerity and budget-by-crisis.
This doesn’t mean the Democrats should give another millimeter on the budget or debt ceiling debate. What it does mean is that they need to start doing what they can to marginalize the most extreme elements in the Republican party so that they have a diminishing role as we move forward. I don’t know how they do that but it’s something the great political minds of the Democratic Party need to be figuring out.
Because the idea of “House Speaker Michele Bachmann” or “House Speaker Louie Gohmert” is something too frightening and, frankly, far too dangerous to even consider.
[CC image credit: Donkey Hotey | Flickr]