Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Look Inside The Republican Caucus

Molly Ball interviews Steve LaTourette who finished his last term in the House of Representatives this week:

Q: The deal did pass the House in the end, though the majority of Republicans, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor, didn't support it. But then Boehner decided not to hold a vote on the bill to fund relief money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. What happened there?
LaTourette: The Sandy thing could have been handled better. But Boehner had expended so much political capital on the tax bill, and now these same 20 to 60 people were grousing that [the aid money] was unpaid for. You look at the roll call on the tax bill -- Boehner votes yes, and every other [member of the GOP leadership] except Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted no.
During the roll call on the tax bill, I walked into the cloakroom, and Boehner was sitting there. I said, 'This Sandy thing is really important. We've got to do something.' He said, 'Not tonight.' I asked if we were going to do it tomorrow, and he said no. He said, 'After this mess, I just can't do it tonight.'
Q: I don't understand. Was he just exhausted? Was he afraid the votes wouldn't be there?
LaTourette: He had expended a lot of political capital to get the 85 votes [on the fiscal-cliff deal], and he felt a little betrayed that the other members of the elected leadership walked on him. And the last piece was, as you saw during the Speaker election [Thursday], this sort of insurrection was forming against him. There was a fear that if he put $60 billion, no matter how worthy, of unpaid-for emergency spending on the floor, the insurrection would become bigger than it was.
Q: How about that insurrection -- doesn't that prove that Boehner is a weak leader who can't control his caucus?
LaTourette: 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.
This really burns me up about the Republican party.  They've been cultivating the loons and the idiots for at least 50 years, and now the sane ones who are left are just shocked that such morons have worked their way up to positions of influence.   You reap what you sow.  The Republicans fed the religious nuts and the conspiracy theorists and the outright racists and whatever other bunch of lunatics who would consistently vote for them, and never worried that this became the grassroots of the party.  As those folks became more involved, they began to move up the chain of command.  Now they are way too close to the levers of power.  This party needs utterly destroyed before it destroys the country.  The sane folks have to give up their cherished talking points and figure out how to work toward a better future.  That future is going to involve difficulty, sacrifice and more taxes.  And less lunatics in Congress.

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