House Republican leaders canceled plans to call a vote Tuesday evening on a Republican plan to raise the debt limit and reopen the government. They couldn’t round up enough Republican votes to pass it.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza is stunned, for some reason.
In fact, this is the least stunning event ever. The bill would have raised the debt ceiling. It would have changed Obamacare, Republicans’ white whale, in only the most trivial ways. The powerful conservative pressure group Heritage Action opposed it. Of course Speaker John Boehner couldn’t get the votes.
The only stunning thing is that anyone still looks at House Republicans and says: “You know what would be great? Giving these people more power over public policy.”
Roughly one-third of this caucus thinks hitting the debt ceiling and shutting down the government are great strategies to try to stop Obamacare. The other two-thirds of the party has realised all along that this strategy sucks, but they could not find any way to stop their party from implementing it — even though these “reasonable” Republicans outnumber the crazies.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was on CNN today saying that his party’s strategy for the last month has been lunacy. Well why the hell didn’t he do anything to stop it? Why didn’t he join with Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and stop the shutdown in its tracks on Sept. 30? Where is his sense of responsibility?
Can you imagine the situation this country would be in if Republicans controlled both houses of Congress right now? Or if we had a President whose administration gets jerked around by Heritage Action in the same way that House Republicans do? It would be a trainwreck, and “reasonable” Republicans like Nunes would still be on television saying they understand it’s a trainwreck, but by golly, operationally, they had no way to stop it.
There is no serious argument for Republican governance right now, even if you prefer conservative policies over liberal ones. These people are just too dangerously incompetent to be trusted with power.
A party that is this bad at tactics can’t be expected to be any good at policy-making.
There are a lot of state and local Republican officials I admire, with Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) at the top of the list. Govs. Brian Sandoval (Nev.) and Susana Martinez (N.M.) are pretty good, too. I even think Gov. Jan Brewer (Ariz.) has a lot of merits, her opportunistic fights against immigrants notwithstanding.
What successful Republican governors like Christie have in common is that they have been able to resist their party’s base when it demands they do massively unpopular things. Republican members of Congress have no such ability. And for that reason, they cannot be trusted with power.
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