Thursday, September 22, 2011

So what's more important to Boehner, his ties to the Tea Party or the Country?

We're about to find out...even though, if we're honest, we already know the answer.

From Stan Collender:

The big question now is the one we’ve been wondering about for some time in analogous budget situations: Where do Boehner and Cantor go from here?

On the one hand, they can move to the right to pick up tea party votes by (1) proposing bigger spending reductions for fiscal 2012 than were included in the bill that was defeated yesterday and (2) continuing to refuse to allow the Hurricane Irene-related disaster assistance to be provided unless others spending is cut to pay for it. The tea partiers want fiscal 2012 discretionary spending to be set at the level included in the House-passed budget resolution — AKA, the Ryan plan — rather than the higher level included in the debt ceiling increase/deficit reduction plan (the Budget Control Act) enacted on August 2.

The problem with this strategy, however, is that it will likely lose other votes from Republicans in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey — the states that were hardest hit by Irene. Note that three of these four — all but North Carolina — have Republican governors who have said that they want/need/must have the federal assistance. And House Democrats are very unlikely to go along.

In other words, moving toward the tea party may not guarantee that the bill passes.

On the other hand, moving in the other direction on this one bill very likely will cause the tea party to split permanently with the two House leaders. The tea partiers have been leery of both Boehner and Cantor since the start of the year. In fact, a tea party supporter is running against Boehner in the GOP primary and the Virginia tea party has been threatening to challenge Cantor since before the 2010 election. Working with House Democrats at this point might get the bill passed but might also make it all but impossible for the GOP leadership to lead in 2012, that is, in the months heading into an election where anger about Congress is already at an all-time high.

For John Boehner, nothing is worth doing, unless you can screw the Democrats at the same time. My bet is he tries to go the Teabagger route, because he wants to do whatever it takes to kick a Conservative bill into the Senate, and have the Democrats there "take the blame" for shooting it down.