Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hot Mess on Capitol Hill

Here we go again. Congressional Republican "leaders" thought they were going to make a killing off their latest & greatest manufactured crisis. However, they ran into a problem on their way to their victory lap on the hamster wheel of drama. And as usual, their problem is their own base.

Conservative groups like FreedomWorks, Club For Growth and Heritage Actionvehemently oppose the plan and have vowed to punish lawmakers who vote to bring it up. They want Republicans to force a confrontation over defunding Obamacare at risk of a government shutdown. These well-financed groups wield tremendous influence over the GOP and have repeatedlybested — and embarrassed — the party leadership.

“This is a legislative gimmick designed to provide political cover to those who are unwilling to fight to defund Obamacare,” said Michael Needham, the leader of Heritage Action. “Any constituent who looks at this vote will know it is intended to look like a vote to defund Obamacare while failing to do so. The American people are tired of gimmicks, and it is our expectation that no conservative in Congress will try to deceive their constituents by going along with this cynical ploy.”

Well, at least the "Tea Party, Inc." spinners are correct that this is a ridiculous gimmick. However, what they fail to recognize is that Americans are sick and tired of the manufactured crises. And the more they pursue the same old manufactured crises, the less trust Americans put in Congress... And the less popular Congressional Republicans become.

This is what Salon's Brian Beutler tried to explain to them earlier this morning.

Serially picking fights with the Senate and White House over the budget is really dumb. It’s bad for the country and the economy for obvious reasons. It’s no longer a fruitful way for Republicans — who only control the House of Representatives — to achieve significant policy objectives. It remains an effective way to undermine the public’s faith in Congress and the government, which Republicans like, but it reduces their own party’s favorables more than the Democrats’. And at this point they’re doing much more internal harm to themselves than anyone else.

Indeed, routine budget fights have unified Democrats and are hastening the GOP crackup. Just yesterday, House GOP leaders fumbled (yet) a(nother) bill because the GOP is too divided over budget policy and strategy to pass anything other than completely suicidal legislation without Democratic votes.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Tang) lost control of his own caucus long ago. House Republicans are now too busy fighting each other to be bothered with figuring out what's best for the nation. We have a spiraling hot mess on Capitol Hill, and it's going to take some actual grown-up leadership to get us out of this.

So what can be done now? Republican "leaders" can starr by reaching out to Senator Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), and the President. The only way any budget can pass is with bipartisan support. That's the only way they can begin cleaning up the hot mess on Capitol Hill.

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