He's Going To Cry
Poor House Speaker Boehner. I almost feel sorry for him, although not quite. As David Horsey's cartoon and column points out, he has to negotiate with the White House while his own party is hopelessly split.
On one side of the growing rift stand pragmatic conservatives such as Ann Coulter and Bill Kristol who say Republicans should give ground and let President Obama raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans. On the other side stand hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a gaggle of right-wing pundits and tea party diehards who shout, “Never give in!” Straddling this divide is Boehner, trying to hold his caucus together while offering a middle path that would raise revenue from the rich while holding down tax rates.
Boehner’s scheme to come up with $800 billion by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy has broad, if tenuous, support in the GOP caucus, but it is not a plan that has much chance of survival. It brings in only half the revenue that would come in if Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire as they are set to do on Jan. 1. President Obama and the Democrats are far more inclined to let that happen than to buy into Boehner’s vague plan for which no details have yet been provided. Meanwhile, conservative purists are already calling Boehner a traitor to the cause for offering to take away deductions and tax credits from the upper class. ...
...That means all of the automatic tax hikes and budget cuts characterized as the “fiscal cliff” will begin to unroll, leaving it to the new Congress in the new year to forge an agreement with the president to roll back the draconian measures before the economy takes a dive.
And Boehner's woes won't end there. In the next congress he can expect a challenge to his leadership from people like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, both of whom have their own political career aspirations. It's hard to imagine either of them willing to throw their far-right supporters under the bus just so Boehner can make a deal. It's not hard to imagine what that far-right constituency will demand next:
If they cannot stop a tax hike for the wealthy in January, the more strident conservatives are already identifying the February deadline for raising the debt ceiling as their next point of leverage. Should the president not give them what they want in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other non-military programs, the most zealous conservatives appear willing to put the good credit of the United States at risk again. The last time they did that in 2011, the nation’s credit rating was downgraded. This time the result could be worse.
Besides doing damage to the country, the GOP brand will be tarnished even further. Boehner and the pragmatists know that. Unfortunately the ultra conservatives don't care.
Interesting times we live in.