Boehner caves. Republican civil war continues apace.

Today we were greeted with the news that House Speaker John Boehner, unable to cobble together a debt ceiling hike which would bring along a majority of his conference, caved and agreed to a clean hike, passed with a minority of GOP votes, the rest of the votes supplied by Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats. As reported in the Washington Post:

House Republican leaders told members Tuesday morning that it is clear their latest attempt at seeking a concession in the debt ceiling debate will not attract enough support, so they will be bringing up a “clean” debt limit bill, according to several GOP people inside their Tuesday morning huddle.

This “surrender” was not greeted kindly by the Tea Party rump.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) made his opposition known in dramatic fashion. “How about you talk to my son and tell him about the debt that he’s going to pay,” he said. Flashing his phone at TPM, he raised his voice: “$17.3 trillion right now. … He’s a Clemson student. I’d be glad for you to explain how he’s going to pay that back.”

And thus John Boehner is forced, yet again, to go hat in hand to Nancy Pelosi, and beg for Democratic support to pass the basic business of government. When he’s put out as being the most ineffective Speaker in modern history, others say that “No, he’s being very effective at stymying government.” But he’s not even able to do that. His great battle, shutting down the government in 2013, was a colossal failure and defeat, due to a misreading of both President Obama and the national mood. He was forced to surrender unconditionally, getting nothing of what he had demanded, having brought the country to the brink of insolvency.

When I speak of a “Republican civil war”, let me be clear that I’m not speaking of anything so grand as a fight for the “party’s soul.” Many “mainstream” Republicans are as far to the right as the Tea Party faction. The civil war is one of strategy and tactics. The problem is that the Tea Party faction consists of people who eschew strategy and tactics. They are the true believers, ones who think that merely by remaining pure and true they can bring the rest of the country with them. They don’t believe in polls which show that the movement has a dearth of popularity among non-Republicans. Any failures are attributed to a lack of will and conviction, not to the fact that the ideology is bankrupt and frightens most Americans.

Mainstream Republicans want many of the same things as Tea Party members. They just want to disguise their goals more carefully, not putting the racism and radicalism of the Tea Party at the forefront.

The problem is, that without the energy of the Tea Party, the GOP would already be a dead party. Teabaggers have kept the GOP on life support for the past five years, providing the shock troops for the 2010 takeover. And Republicans disgusted with the Tea Party haven’t fought them in local boards, but have merely left the party all together. Thus, as the Tea Party becomes more marginalized in the broader electorate, it continues to battle for the GOP as it becomes a bigger percentage of its dwindling adherents.

This dynamic, and the titanic demographic shifts occurring in the country, doom the GOP on a national level. Their only hope is to hold out in their gerrymandered districts. But even that is a will-o-the-wisp. There are some districts which will never vote for a Democrat. But there are enough purple districts which could swing with good Democratic candidates. If Tea Partiers in these districts stay home out of disaffection with another GOP cave, and Democratic voters view 2014 with the same urgency they viewed 2012, then Democrats can recapture the House. What John Boehner just did was give the Tea Party another reason to either stay home in November, or pull out the knives and carry out a political war in full view of the electorate. Either road leads to the same destination.

The election of 2012 was of monumental importance. It showed that corporate money couldn’t buy the White House. The election this November will go a long way to determining if the same is true of the Congress. The Koch Brothers and their allies have already poured millions into House and Senate races, and the election season hasn’t even started. But John Boehner is the best ally a future Speaker Pelosi can have. His incompetence plants seeds of doubt in a voter’s mind; if Boehner has to plead with Pelosi for votes, why not just hand the gavel back to her?

Thank you, John Boehner. First, for facing reality and putting a clean debt ceiling hike on the floor. But secondly, for proving again and again that if Americans want a functioning government, voting Democrat is the only option.

120 Responses to “Boehner caves. Republican civil war continues apace.”

  1. 1 No Child Left Behind
    February 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm


    • 2 Cindy
      February 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Good afternoon No Child Left Behind…

      Happy Tuesday! I hope you are having a GREAT day of recovery and feeling well.

      Congrats on 1st….wtg

  2. 3 No Child Left Behind
    February 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Salut la maisonnée!

  3. 4 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    • 5 amk for obama
      February 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      The president’s regret over the first debt limit crisis has shaped his second term. While he has shown that he’s willing to deal with the right and strike deals that do not please his base, he has refused to negotiate “with a gun to his head.”

      This tactic revealed that Republicans were holding the gun to their own heads, with the public prepared to blame them if a default actually happened.

    • 6 amk for obama
      February 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      President Obama’s re-election also complicated the GOP’s plans in that he was able to end some of the Bush tax breaks for the richest. This combined with economic growth and some cuts has the deficit falling, possibly at the fastest pace ever. With the media unable to swell the right’s arguments with reports of exploding trillion-dollar deficits, Republicans have lost the momentum it takes to threaten another global economic disaster — even if 85 percent of the people who watch Fox News have no idea the deficit is actually shrinking.

      • 7 No Child Left Behind
        February 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        Agreed with you on both counts. The end of the Bush tax cuts for the richest was a big win.

  4. 8 No Child Left Behind
    February 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    LL, merci pour la réflexion. Boehner a capitulé.

    • February 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Re: “capitule”. I tend to agree with Booman’s analysis that he persuaded enough baggers to tone it down until after the midterms. STRUCTUALLY, they have the advantage, i.e., gerrymandered districts, serious # of red state senate races and my ONLY disagreement with LL’s post: these people never sit on their hands when it comes to voting.

      We have our Everest to climb; I think we can do it. If someone like Terry McAuliffe can be elected by voter turn-out (thanks, People-esp. Women of Color, then we’re on track.

      • February 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        I don’t know about that, Pamela. If you peruse the comments on the right wing blogs, they’re fed up with the GOP leadership. They might sit out, or, more likely, try to conduct a bloodbath. I’m placing my bets on the latter.

        • February 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          The blogs represent the purest ideologues; there is a mirror image on the left, along with the grifter quotient. IMHO, the extreme right makes an incredible ruckus but still votes while our extreme left either sits it out, votes 3rd party while demoralizing/poisoning the base.

          What’s scary to me, is the convergence of the far left and far right (NSA as an example). Scary because I always considered myself extremely liberal.

          • 12 No Child Left Behind
            February 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm

            I agree with your assessment, Pamelabrown53. The crazies on the right will go out and vote while the left will continue to engulf itself in a futile analysis on the dear whistleblower Snowjob.

          • 13 hopefruit2
            February 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm

            The “far left” is anything BUT liberal. These are a bunch of well-off Libertarians who endorse certain things like pot, and perhaps gay rights, but nothing much beyond that. These people would happily #StandWithRand while claiming to be “left” but spend the majority of their waking lives looking for reasons to be angry at Democrats, especially the current WH occupant. They are attracted to the likes of Snowden because they are just like him.

            As a left-of-center Liberal, I don’t consider them to be on “our side” and I don’t trust them. They are SNAKES in the grass.

            • 14 nathkatun7
              February 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm

              Go ahead Hopefruit and break it down! I agree with everything you said. Like you, I personally don’t consider supporters of: the Libertarian right winger, Edward Snowden; Libertarian, Glenn Greenwald; and former right winger, Arianna Huffington, ‘to be on “our side”‘ As far as I am concerned, the emoprogs, though they are quite loud, are not the real base of the Democratic party. All we need to do in 2014 is mobilize the real Democratic base to turn up and vote, just as we did in 2012, and we will win.

  5. February 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks a gazillion Nerdy and LL for the posts today, still tied up with work but the ship is sailing beautifully with you two legends at the helm!

  6. 17 Gazelle
    February 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    [Diplomacy rules!]:

    […..] US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is due to hold a three-way meeting with UN/Arab League joint Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva on Friday, the State Department confirmed. […..]


  7. 18 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Men like this around the world is what freaks me out.

    So, if a woman is drunk and her partner refuses to take no for an answer, then sexually assaults and rapes her, she is equally to blame as the creep who violated her. Congratulations, James Taranto, editor of the WSJ.


    • February 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      The Republicans keep so much negative crap going people have probably forgotten when a Senator in Nebraska was trying to enact a law that said pregnancies resulting in women who were raped while drugged or intoxicated, mentally incapable, or victims of date rape would not be considered the result of “forcible rape”.

      He said if they were out drunk or drugged, they were sluts anyway. Nothing with these people is new. It’s the same garbage warmed over.

    • 20 nathkatun7
      February 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Something has gone deeply wrong with right wing Republicans! This man, James Taranto, justifying the rape of a woman because two people are drunk, is a disgrace. His assertion that raping a woman who is drunk is analogous to two drunks who get involved in an accident is utterly hideous. What is even more egregious is that he is an editor of a supposedly respected national newspaper. I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: most of the so called mainstream (really corporate) media are the greatest danger threatening the survival of our democracy. I wonder, does James Taranto have any daughters or sisters? Would he use the same justification if some drunk man raped them?

  8. 21 Linda
    February 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Ugh….MSNBC is going to televise Christie’s remarks in Chicago today.

    Why ?

    • 22 Cindy
      February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Happy Tuesday Linda!

      The morning jokester is still trying to save the Christie cream and the media just refuses to talk about President Obama’s accomplishments; what do you have left? Christie’s lies, and his own are running from him. Great job media!

    • 23 jacquelineoboomer
      February 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      It’s a side show, a circus, somebody’s idea of entertainment. What MSNBC and the others do best. Unfortunately!

      • 24 Cindy
        February 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Good afternoon jacquelinoboomer…

        Happy Tuesday to you!

        You said it and the right word is…….SIDE SHOW. TOD, the real news network : )

        Thank you,

  9. 25 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

  10. 26 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm

  11. 27 Linda
    February 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Club for Growth, a top conservative advocacy group, urged House Republicans Tuesday to oppose the clean debt-limit increase proposed by House Speaker John Boehner and warned that there was “something very wrong” with the House GOP leaders.

    The group said it would include members’ votes in its final legislative scorecard.

    “When we heard that House leadership was scheduling a clean debt ceiling increase, we thought it was a joke. But it’s not,” the group said. “Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party. This is not a bill that advocates of limited government should schedule or support.”

  12. 30 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

  13. 31 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

  14. 32 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

  15. 33 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

  16. 35 carolyn
    February 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    It is so wonderful to have a president who knows history! As he said, France is our oldest ally. It was with their help that we won the revolutionary war. France sent army officers to help train our troops after we defeated the British at the Battle of Saratoga. Jefferson and Franklin made the argument for that.
    When Cornwallis saw the French fleet steaming into Yorktown harbor, he knew he could not win……that is the biggest reason he surrendered where and when he did. Too many Americans do not know this, or have forgotten. So glad President Obama is the one who knows, and SO GLAD Pres Hollande has invited him to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day! Hope they give him a parade down the Champs Elysses!!

  17. 40 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

  18. 41 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Former Florida Rep. Ana Rivas Logan is abandoning the GOP ship and will register as a Democrat, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    She said, “The GOP of today is not the party I joined. It’s not the party of my parents. It’s a party that has been radicalized and held hostage by a group of extremists.”

    Charlie Crist welcomed Logan aboard.

  19. 42 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    If the mad house passes the clean debt ceiling, and that is a big if given conservadems, does the senate require the effing 60 votes to pass it?

  20. 47 Nerdy Wonka
    February 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    A change truly is gonna come. This administration is amazing.

  21. 48 Linda
    February 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee is suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state.

    The Democrat says he came to the decision after months of review and hopes his action will enable the state to join what he calls “a growing national conversation about capital punishment.”

    According to a draft statement obtained by The Associated Press, Inslee says the death penalty is applied inconsistently and unequally.

    The governor’s staff briefed lawmakers about the move on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

    Inslee’s moratorium means that if a death penalty case comes to his desk, he will issue a reprieve, which is not a pardon and does not commute the sentences of those condemned to death.

  22. 49 carolyn
    February 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Wow…..trust restored between France and the U.S. Mutual respect…..change we can believe in.

    What a contrast this is to the eight years when France became the butt of GWB’s and Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s ignorant jokes! Whenever we visited in France or England during those dark years, people would ask How can the Americans elect that man!!! In early 2008 they begged us, Please elect Barack Obama, the world needs him. That was even before he had won the nomination. Many of them follow U.S .politics closely and are much more informed than a good number of our voters.
    They knew six years ago he was what the world needed.

  23. 50 Gazelle
    February 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    [Ya thunk?!!]:

    “The era of economic hostage taking and ransom demands should finally be behind us,” Senator Patty Murray told me today. “House GOP leaders have finally bowed to the reality that they need to put uncertainty and drama behind them and put the economy ahead of their party’s political tactics.” Also, as Jonathan Bernstein notes, this reflects a GOP recognition that the Tea Party must be marginalized, not placated.


    • February 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      And this is sort of my point. The GOP leadership realizes that they have to rein in the crazy. But how do you do that without having the crazy smash up the place? It is probably too late for that.

  24. 52 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

  25. 53 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  26. February 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Whew, Storytime wears me out.

  27. 56 Ladyhawke
    February 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Eric Boehlert ‏@EricBoehlert 37m

    can’t imagine what Latino leaders think watching Boehner allow GOP to vote on debt ceiling; refusing to let members vote/pass immigration

  28. 59 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Amen and gunnite.

  29. February 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Lordy, Lordy. Somebody talk me down! I just had a conversation with someone who was happy to hear the Republicans have agreed to vote on a clean debt limit bill. Among other things he said, “I have wondered why the Republicans have put up with the Democratic extremism. They should just do their jobs and let that radicalized bunch hang out there.”

    I thought I was in another dimension. This is Earth and The Obama Diary, right?

  30. 66 Ladyhawke
    February 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    How The Press Dumped Policy For Politics In Covering Immigration Reform



    Watching and reading the immigration reform coverage over the last five days, you’d know about all sort of back room, GOP vote-counting intricacies but you’d know very little about what immigration reform calls for or what it means for America’s future. You’d likely also have little idea about the vast coalition of politically diverse groups supporting reform, including college and university presidents, evangelical leaders and big business cheerleaders, such as the Chamber of Commerce. Or that polling indicates a strong majority of Americans support reform, including Republican voters.
    Overall though, these seem to be the exceptions. It’s time for the press to expand its myopic view of immigration reform and acknowledge it’s far more than a story about internal GOP wrangling.



  31. 67 MightyPamela
    February 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    But it seems Rep Duncan has no moral issues with stealing from American taxpayers in the form of his salary, perks and medical benefits, all the while shirking the actual task of governing he was elected to perform. Really, isn’t it time these so-called leaders are required to have at least a basic understand of the US Constitution, and a reality test on how things work?

  32. 69 Linda
    February 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    BREAKING: Pipe Break At Coal Facility Contaminates West Virginia Waterway

    A coal preparation facility spilled an unknown quantity of coal slurry into a creek in Kanawha County, W.V. Tuesday morning, according to West Virginia officials.

    As the Charleston Gazette reports, the spill occurred at Patriot Coal’s Kanawha Eagle operation, which is located near Fields Creek. The operation is near Winifrede, WV — southeast of Charleston, the state’s capitol and site of last month’s major chemical spill. The amount of coal slurry that spilled is still unknown, but a West Virginia DEP spokesman told the Charleston Gazette that the spill could probably be characterized as “significant.”

    According to the county’s emergency services director, the spill was caused by a break in the eight-inch slurry line that ran between the preparation plant and the company’s refuse impoundment, which occurred sometime between midnight and 5:30 in the morning. According to the DEP, the company in charge of the facility reported the spill to the DEP at 7:30 a.m.


  33. 77 Nena20409
    February 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm


    😆 🙄 😆

    Now let’s make sure that KY makes that a REALITY 😉

    Christian Whiton, a former State Department adviser under President George W. Bush, predicted he’ll lose his seat. (In recent years, Whiton has written a book about foreign policy and repeatedly appeared in conservative media.)

  34. 78 amk for obama
    February 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm


    • 79 Nena20409
      February 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      You are in a Fine Form, sir 😉

      Tweets and quotes, nailing the issues of today…..Left and Right. Bravo, sir.

  35. 80 Gazelle
    February 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    [///SMH. GOP icky in Illinois.]:

    In the biggest potential shake-up yet in the GOP primary race for governor, a former high-ranking state treasurer employee filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, leveling explosive sexual harassment allegations against Dan Rutherford.


    The lawsuit comes five weeks before the March 18 gubernatorial primary in which Rutherford was seen as the clear runner-up to frontrunner Winnetka venture capitalist Bruce Rauner.

    The former employee, Ed Michalowski, accused Rutherford of making unwanted sexual advances against him, starting in 2011 and also alleged that Rutherford’s chief of staff did nothing when the incidents were reported.

    Much more here: http://www.suntimes.com/25506138-761/former-state-employee-alleges-illinois-treasurer-dan-rutherford-sexually-harasssed-him.html

  36. 84 Nena20409
    February 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Great Post LL. Pardon me. I read it, then forgot to do the right thing….,Acknowledging the masterpiece. Thank you LL.

  37. 85 Bill R.
    February 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

  38. 93 Linda
    February 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    The Dow is back up over 16, 000

  39. 94 Linda
    February 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm


    1 inch of ice predicted for the Atlanta area……..I will be trapped for sure….

  40. 106 Bill R.
    February 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    • February 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      I commented on this upthread, Bill…#17. Those folks are just shameless, but they’ve been that way a long time.

      • 108 nathkatun7
        February 11, 2014 at 9:33 pm

        “Those folks are just shameless…”

        Faypax, you are too kind! I would even go further than you and call them evil. Do these right wingers have daughters in college? Would they justify the rape of their daughters because they had drinks with the boys? What this Wall Street Journal editor wrote was beyond disgusting; especially for some of us who have daughters, granddaughters and nieces and grandnieces in college.

        • February 12, 2014 at 1:51 am

          I agree with you, Nath, they are evil. But I think I see their rantings in a different light, consequently they hold a different meaning for me. In one sense they are deliberately being Congressional “shock jocks”, in another it is about survival of the majority. I’m about history, and so I see all these evil doings as part of a larger goal. Voter suppression, reproductive rights, stop and frisk, immigration reform, right to work and yes, stand your ground and almost everything you see are all in my view threads in the same tapestry. About the only thing left to legally impart discrimination (Jim Crow) and impede minorities are marriage laws. Look for divorce and child support to be their next point of attack.

  41. 110 Dudette
    February 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Woohoo! Prayers answered! My brother’s went great! He gets to go home in couple of days. Starts physical therapy in a couple of weeks. Doc says he’ll be like a new man in about month! Phew! What a relief! 😀

  42. 118 Vicki
    February 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    LL, This post is right on the money. Dems need to remember that we can and should compete in any district no matter if it is gerrymandered.
    Some of the GOP margins are thin and a decent candidate can turn a red area blue.

    I was so dejected about PrioritiesUSA decision to avoid 2014.
    Now i think that with the ACA Avalanche, as Don named it, a clean debt ceiling increase and a concerted effort on raising the minimum wage the Democratic Party will surely keep the Senate, win several Governor seats, and improve our numbers in the House, at least , and maybe take the gavel back.

    Senate seat outlook improved this week in Montana, right mtmarilyn? KY looking bright for ALGrimes, GA–with their 4 way GOP primary race, looking better for Nunn, Mary Landrieu’s brother Mitch was just re-elected as Mayor of New Orleans, which improves her chances.

    Plenty of reasons for optimism.

  43. 119 57andfemale
    February 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I’m not taking a victory lap until the clean bill actually passes. I think it was Ed Kilgore’s column at Washington Monthly that said they might not have the 18(?) Republican votes they need to pass it, even if every Dem votes for it. But everything else I’m reading says that passage is likely. I just don’t trust these bastards, not for one nanosecond.

    The victory laps could be enough fuel for Republicans to screw this up. It does hurt them politically – the only chance in hell they have of keeping any power or God forbid gaining any power is to stop looking like obstructionist idiots. But they’ve got their ‘principles’, after all.

    I’ll do a big old happy dance when the clean bill passes.

  44. 120 Dudette
    February 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Outstanding post LL!

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