Speaker John Boehner is doubling as a collection agency these days. It seems the party of alleged fiscal conservatives is full of deadbeats, at least in the House — you know, the chamber from which all of the really crazy austerity comes. The chamber that shut down government. The chamber that demands everything but tax giveaways for corporations be paid for. So now, poor John Boehner has to run around strong arming the deadbeats in the House, when he’s not searching for a passable reason to sue the President.
Alex Isenstadt and Jake Sherman reported for Politico, “House Republicans, so worried that a swelling cash deficit will keep them from making big gains this November, have begun cracking down on dozens of lawmakers who haven’t paid dues crucial to the party’s campaign accounts. It’s reached the point that Speaker John Boehner has dispatched his own team to twist some of the stragglers’ arms.”
There’s a lot at stake especially because House Democrats have outraised House Republicans by $113 million to $91 million. Politico explained, “An official familiar with the overall push said about 120 of the 234 members of the GOP Conference paid their dues in full by the end of June, supplying the NRCC with more than $12 million. But there are about 100 members who have paid only part of what they owe, or nothing at all — leaving potentially millions of dollars still on the table.”
So Boehner has taken to stalking his prey like any good collection agent, Politico reports. “But behind the scenes, Boehner has launched his own effort — sending a trio of members close to him to press the procrastinators to fork over cash. They’ve been poring over NRCC dues sheets, calling truant members, tracking them down in hallways and otherwise pressuring them to open their wallets. Boehner himself has wrangled more than $1 million from his colleagues in the Ohio delegation.”
One has to wonder if any of the House Republicans tell Boehner it’s not their fault that the Speaker’s lawsuit backfired, with Democrats having their biggest fundraising day of the year due to the Speaker’s misguided lawsuit.
If the Speaker continues on this path of fail, he may find the resolution for his lawsuit meeting the same doom as his debt ceiling bill, with his own party stabbing him in the back and forcing him to kill his own baby. The pressure is obviously getting to him, as witnessed in his enraged hysteria during Thursday’s presser.
Republicans are sure they can pick up seats, but they don’t like the idea of being outspent by Democrats so they’re trying to terrify the deadbeats into paying by suggesting that their House majority is at risk. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), former NRCC chairman, told Politico, “We think we have the opportunity to pick up seats. But if you go into an election with a major cash disparity, then we run the risk of losing the majority that really shouldn’t be in jeopardy.”
Republicans did this to themselves. Sure, they deliberately gerrymandered themselves into relative safety in the House and midterms favor Republicans due to their voting base, but a smart party wouldn’t turn their back on the only arm of government they have control over. And of course, the final stab in the heart is the realization that Republicans wouldn’t be in such jeopardy had Boehner not threatened to sue the President.
Boehner would not have had to threaten to sue the President if the House were actually doing their job and thus had anything to run on other than fear and rage. As it is, the Speaker is now stuck with a muddled position on Obamacare — totally against it, wants to repeal it, but is suing the President over not implementing it sooner. That doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, and even the party’s base can see that it’s nothing but a get out the vote gimmick. At some point, the Republican base might figure out that Republicans knew they couldn’t repeal Obamacare and they lied to the base anyway.
The bad news for House GOP is that since 2010, Republicans have been able to rely on outside interest groups to fund attack ads against their opponents, but this cycle around, Politico reports that the outside interest groups are focused on taking the Senate back from Democrats. This makes sense, because those groups know they have all of the GOP House puppets already. They can get anything out of them, but it gets stopped in the Senate, where a few reasonable Republicans still preside.
The Republican House majority is probably not at risk even with their cash disadvantage given the Republican leanings of the typical midterm voter, but if even a small percentage of Obama voters turn out in 2014, they very well could be in trouble in the districts that Obama won. If the country recalls all of the actual work accomplished under Democratic Speaker Pelosi, they will be hoping those Obama voters get out the vote.
Ms. Jones is the 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.