Wednesday, January 05, 2011

112th Congress: Here come the crazy!

Today is a Big Daytm for Tea-baggers.  Today, the 112th Congress is sworn in to office, there to fearlessly lead us into a bright new world.

Speaker Boehner has laid out an ambitious agenda for the GOP-led House of Representatives this time around:
  • A vote in the House to repeal the health care reform package passed last year. Of course, the repeal, if it does manage to pass through the House, will go nowhere.  Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, the two top Democrats in the Senate majority have already publicly stated they will block a repeal.  But that doesn't matter to Boehner.  He's got to worry about the tea-bag yahoos in his caucus who will blow a gasket if he doesn't go through the motions. 

  • A roll back of Federal non-entitlement spending to 2008 levels, by cutting $100 billion from the budget.  At last, the Republicans will get specific on where they mean to cut spending!  Oh, but wait... Representative Paul Ryan, the GOP's new budget guy says that, now that the election is over, the $100 billion figure is no longer valid.  You see, Ryan says, the $100 billion was relative to the baseline in President Obama’s budget request. But since congress didn’t pass the president’s budget request, the pledge is now invalid.  Get it?  Don't you get it?  As Canterbury said of Henry V's claim to the throne of France:  It's "as clear as is the summer's sun."
  • An out-loud reading of the US Constitution at the commencement of proceedings.  Get out the hankies!  Speaker Boehner, already known as a blubber baby, might get downright hysterical.
Okay, so maybe "ambitious" isn't the right word to describe the Republican agenda.  But no one can blame Boehner for trying to please the 40 or so new House members who claim to be part of the "Tea Party."  After all, they did help him win the Speaker's gavel.

The problem for Boehner is what comes next.  When you're in the majority, people expect you to govern.  And as Speaker of the House, the only way to govern is to work with the Senate and the Executive, both of which are controlled by the opposing party.

So, Big John is going to have to thread the needle:  get something accomplished without appearing to collaborate with Tea-bagger arch-enemy Barack Obama.  If he doesn't tread carefully, he could face a revolt in his own caucus.  As evidence, observe what is even now happening to long-time Republican Senator Dick Lugar as a result of helping the administration get the New START treaty passed in the lame duck session.

Being in the minority does a lot to boost caucus solidarity.  But when you're the leader of a majority that is composed of 40 or more bat-sh*t crazies, things get a lot more complicated.  We'll see...

1 comment:

Dan Binmore said...

The economy will improve over the next two years, and the economy is the greatest driver of political popularity (other than being attacked by terrorists it seems).

During the mid-term elections those most excited about politics make up a greater proportion of the voters than in presidential elections. In presidential elections it really comes down to the views of the middle ten percent, the moderates. Moderates do not like the Tea Party much, preferring the more moderate label of conservative.

So, the best thing for the Democrats in the next two years is the Tea Party dominating politics by trying all these nutty things that will be easily framed as anti-middle class (anti-health, anti-unemployment) while Obama will be able to claim the ending of two wars, saving the US economy, caring for the poor and sick.

Hopefully the Tea Party will still dominate politics in 14 months resulting in a Tea Party candidate for President, who would then be promptly destroyed by Obama.

The best way to demonstrate the idiocy of ideologues is to let them try to do things.