Skip to comments.Once Boxed-In, Boehner May Finally Be Master Of The House
Posted on 12/08/2012 2:34:42 PM PST by nickcarraway
Not long ago, it seemed to many observers that the House of Representatives was a case of the tail wagging the dog, with Speaker John Boehner unable to keep in line many of his fellow Republicans, especially freshmen who came to Congress riding the 2010 Tea Party wave.
Now, however, the big dog seems back in control.
Some of the signs are subtle, some not. But as he faces off with President Obama during fiscal cliff negotiations, Boehner enjoys a stronger position with House Republicans than he had during earlier showdowns with the White House.
In a paradoxical way, Obama's re-election victory coupled with congressional Democrats adding to their numbers may have helped Boehner. Some of those wins came at the expense of the Tea Party, the conservative movement whose affiliated House members have been very willing to stand up to Boehner.
In recent weeks, Boehner has seen his preferred candidate for a House Republican leadership position win and has gotten his entire leadership team to sign his tax-raising, fiscal-cliff counteroffer.
Less subtle was his crackdown on several GOP lawmakers viewed as unreliable: He approved their loss of committee assignments.
And reports of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia breathing down Boehner's neck, once common, are now scarce.
'Somewhat Unprecedented' Reversal
History suggests that speakers start with high inventories of power only to see them diminish, says Matt Green, a Catholic University political scientist who wrote an examination of speakers titled The Speaker of the House: A Study of Leadership.
In contrast, Boehner's power as speaker started at a relative low point in January 2011 and has risen from there.
"It's not unusual for speakers to have divisions within their party they have to manage," Green said in an interview. "And it's not unusual for speakers to have rivals to the throne. It is somewhat unprecedented, though, to see speakers starting off their tenure at a severe disadvantage and then cementing their power later, which appears to be happening right now with Boehner.
"Usually the pattern in recent decades is the opposite, where a new speaker has strong support, a broad base of good will and then, later, they start to see problems within their party and their power starts to dissipate. [Newt] Gingrich is a classic example of that. Going back further, folks like Carl Albert [in the 1970s] and John McCormack [in the 1960s] became less influential."
Though Boehner has appeared to consolidate support within the House Republican Conference, he has antagonized conservative activists away from Capitol Hill with some of his latest moves. His fiscal-cliff offer containing tax increases on the wealthy that would come from closing loopholes and capping deductions and the punishment of House members viewed as wayward drew criticism, as NPR's Tamara Keith recently reported.
Reading The Tea Leaves
Despite complaints from conservative activists and bloggers, however, Boehner remains the most powerful Republican in Washington with his control of one half of the legislative branch. And at least within his House Republican Conference, things are now going his way.
Case in point: In a secret ballot last month, his preferred candidate, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state beat Rep. Tom Price of Georgia for a top post within the House Republican hierarchy. And Price had the support of some of the bigger names in the House GOP conference, including Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Rep. Mike Pence, the governor-elect of Indiana.
John Feehery, a Washington political consultant who once served as press secretary for Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, described that victory as important for Boehner in internal politics.
"That was a message that the [Republican] conference as a whole has read the tea leaves," Feehery wrote in a blog post in which he also ticked off other indicators of Boehner's strength.
And Boehner's ousting of several lawmakers from positions on popular committees like the Budget and Financial Services panels sent the kind of message that Speaker Joe Cannon in the early 20th century was known to send.
"Cannon did the same thing. Stick a few dissidents on a bad committee like the Acoustics Committee and the message is read loud and clear." Members of that ancient House committee actually had the thankless job of checking the sound quality in the House chamber. Fortunately for those present-day House GOP dissidents, that committee is long defunct.
Up Next: Dueling With Obama
"It's vindictive," complained Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, talking to reporters after a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference on Wednesday. House GOP leaders booted the congressman from the House Agriculture Committee, an assignment important to his district and state.
"It's not a message to me. It punishes my constituents and I still represent them," Huelskamp said. "It's meant as a message to the Republican conference in general, especially the comment today [that Boehner reportedly made at the meeting] that there may be more punishment coming if you don't vote the right way."
But Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, has little time to appreciate his improved circumstances. The Republicans' absolutist stance against increasing tax rates on the wealthiest as part of a fiscal-cliff agreement has placed Boehner on a collision course with Obama, who is an absolutist in favoring such an increase.
Master of the house that is burning to the ground.
Barry and the 'RATS want to know. "What's in YOUR wallet?!"
By the time we’re done with him he’s gonna need three of his cronies to lick all his wounds!
Bonehead is the master of the DC Party, nothing more.
You know the DC Party, the party of Washington that always
wants more Taxes and more spending.
>>Less subtle was his crackdown on several GOP lawmakers viewed as un-RINO-liable: He approved their loss of committee assignments<<
It takes a strong man to wimper and cave-in?
More like, ‘Master of His Own Domain.’ LOL!
What a d*ck...
The left loves Boehner now.
That tells me all I need to know.
Kind words toward Boehner from NPR. That speaks volumes.<p
Hurry up and give them what they want so you can get back to playing golf with the fraud and maybe one day you can have lunch with him like Romney rat. I’m sick of them all. We have a disfunctional government that is not by the people and certainly not for the people. They use our tax dollars against us and want more. They create a financial crisis so they can steal and control. In order to defeat these mental midgets we need to play down and dirty, the GOP is a sad a## dance class in tu tu’s.
Boehner is in command. There is not much the tea party wing can do. They lost 8 seats, and Boehner can match any tea party defector with one of the democrats who will gladly go along with Boehner selling the ranch to the Messiah.
Boehner + beltway republicans + democrats getting on board to screw the tea party republicans = a majority for Boehner every time.
You said it!
Boehner, the Master Blatting Surrender Monkey, as it turns out. Boney has been a disaster for the GOP, and his activity will launch a conservative take over of the GOP or a third party bid led by Jim DeMint and others.
But what really matters is when the vote for Boehner’s new speakership comes up. It will show if the conservatives have any teeth left, or if it is just a matter of time until the RINOs purge them from congress altogether.
Right now, Boehner’s implied threat is a follow-up to the last two elections, that the leadership will neither support with money nor endorse conservatives ever, anywhere, but instead will run primary candidates against them. Trouble is that they also will not support them in 2014.
So unless they stand up to the leadership, they will be brushed aside. Act now, or start looking for a new job.
NPR simply illustrates what I have been saying now for awhile: the GOP are our Judenrat for the MarxoFascists.
It’s amusing that the Left understands the role Boehner and the Establishment GOP are playing in helping Obama establish his dictatorship and purging the political landscape of his enemies; Conservatives.
This is why we see all the giddiness of the Left over Boehner’s war on TEA Party Conservatives and anyone who will not capitulate to their dictator. They know the Ruling Class are the Judenrat and they hope Conservatives willing walk themselves to oblivion under their direction.