Search This Blog

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Buffoons' Rebellion

A rebellion this week illustrated the political problems facing Speaker Boehner and the political ineptitude of his internal foes.  Robert Costa reports at NRO:
It was 15 minutes before the big vote for speaker on Thursday afternoon, and Representative Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, was ready to sit back, clap, and get on with his day. As he waited, he walked to the back of the chamber to catch up with some friends. Then, out of nowhere, a conservative colleague, whom he won’t name, came up to him, tapped his shoulder, and pulled him aside. The colleague whispered that when the vote began, a few backbenchers would attempt to mount a rebellion against Speaker John Boehner. They had kept their plot quiet for weeks, the colleague explained, and he regretted the eleventh-hour mention, but they wanted his support. The colleague thought Franks would participate in the revolt, especially since the Sun Belt conservative has, at times, broken ranks with party leadership.
But Franks wasn’t interested — at all. He shook his head and said, “No, thanks.” Franks couldn’t believe that a small bloc of conservative House Republicans would haphazardly plot against the speaker, especially so close to the roll call. Franks ended the conversation and found a seat. Several other members who were approached, he says, did the same. “I’m one of the most conservative guys here and I find out about this thing 15 minutes before the vote?” Franks asks, in an interview at the Capitol. “To me, it was a ridiculous miscalculation by a sincere but inept group.”
Members say the rebellion was mostly a project of the libertarians (Justin Amash of Michigan and Walter Jones of North Carolina) and a clique within the Jordan-affiliated RSC, especially members of the class of 2010 (Mulvaney and Labrador) and their allies. It was never something that involved widespread outreach. “I only heard about it from a reporter,” says Phil Gingrey of Georgia, a longtime figure in conservative circles. “That was a real mistake,” acknowledges a House Republican staffer involved with the coup attempt. “My boss didn’t say much to anybody beforehand. They were thinking that maybe they could help Eric Cantor or someone else find a way to win.”
Just-retired Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) tells Molly Ball:
I think it's ridiculous. They should kick them all out of the Republican conference. The picture in Politico of a sitting Republican member of Congress on the floor with an iPad showing a screen with a whip count to deny the Republicans the speakership of the House is asinine. This is what I'm talking about: These guys are OK when it comes to ideology and dogma, but they don't have a clue how to participate in the legislative process.
I don't know what their objective is. If it was to deny the speakership to Boehner and hand it to Mrs. Pelosi, I don't know how their cause would have been furthered. If it's to force the vote to a second ballot to make some demands, well, who the hell do these people think they are? Twelve out of 233, and they're making demands? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.