In case you were wondering why the House can’t get anything done, including even just doing their constitutional duty to pay the bills they racked up by voting to increase the debt limit to do so, it’s because even Jesus couldn’t lead that House.
Yes, that’s right. According to Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-OH) who was speaking to Republican whisperer Robert Costa (now at the Washington Post), “Right now, Jesus himself couldn’t be the speaker and get 218 Republicans behind something, so I think Speaker Boehner is trying his best to come up with a plan that can get close to that. Whatever we move, there will be critics everywhere, but at the end of the day we still have to govern.”
Tiberi is a Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) ally (his connection to Boehner got him a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee in 2007), and he is no doubt trying to explain why House Republicans balked once again at Speaker Boehner’s “leadership” and decided en masse to ignore him. Yesterday, part of the fractured Republican caucus went rogue again on the debt ceiling, refusing to listen to an increasingly desperate Boehner try to explain the facts to them. (Translation: It’s an election year! Please don’t do it. PLEASE.)
Speaker Boehner offered to attach a measure that would repeal a section of the ACA or get the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline moving, but the House couldn’t be moved to act. They can smell the blood of obstruction in the water and they’re circling for the Big Fail.
Boehner finally offered them a restoration of cuts to military benefits, according to Costa, and he reported that members seemed excited about this. “Outside the House chamber Wednesday night, the plan was gaining momentum, with dozens of GOP members saying they could back it.”
If that’s the case, these Republicans are admitting that they don’t really understand what they’re doing at all. The debt ceiling isn’t a negotiating tactic, as Obama has already forced them to concede by refusing to negotiate over it. Raising the debt ceiling to pay their bills is their job. Demanding something for doing their jobs this one time is hardly appealing to the many Americans who work 60 hour plus weeks just to stay above water.
But worse, it’s a big DUH. Military benefits aren’t a conservative issue. This administration has fought hard for military families, and has had to pressure the House Republicans to take action for the military many times, including separating out a military jobs bill from the rest of the jobs bills in order to force Republicans to vote yes or take a big public hit in their pretense at supporting the troops. In other words, this is hardly a “get”, hardly something they need to terrorize the country over. Everyone supports military benefits.
Basically Republicans can’t stop throwing fits, so daddy Boehner is going to give them broccoli as a “treat” in order to get them to sit back down at the table. He’s telling them it’s chocolate ice cream, but it’s broccoli, and if they had any idea what they were doing, they’d know it was broccoli and they wouldn’t be fooled. But they are naturally thrilled.
They get to play pretend war with Obama! This is great for them in their gerrymandered districts! It’s just not good for the Republican Party as a whole, or the nation. But who cares about the country — there are angry conservatives to appease with broccoli dressed up as ice cream. This is “governing” GOP style.
For the record, if Jesus were the Speaker, I’m pretty sure He’d be unimpressed with the Republican Party’s stand on issues like food stamps, access to healthcare and unemployment benefits, so it’s probably best not to invoke Him — even as a get out of jail free card for John Boehner.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.