How John Boehner, one of the most underrated modern politicians, reshaped …

1 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Budget deal shows limits of GOP leverage against Obama.

Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin was elected Speaker of the House, assuming command from former Speaker John Boehner, who resigned a month ago, and breathing new hope for progress into the legislative process. John Boehner of Ohio who decided to leave in part because a group of about 40 outspoken conservatives threatened to force a no-confidence vote on his speakership.

So in keeping with the uncharacteristic if qualified hopefulness that’s run through the past couple Saturday dispatches, we give you the case for why things could really, actually, finally be different in the House under newly-minted Speaker Paul Ryan. Ever since Obama and Congress agreed to deep “sequester” cuts to end the first standoff with Boehner’s Republican House in 2011, almost all sides have tried to undo them. Ryan said Thursday it’s time to fix a “broken” House and begin solving the nation’s problems instead of adding to them, and he’s expected to talk more Sunday about how he will approach the new job.

With Obama signing the budget package into law, lawmakers and the White House have succeeded once again in staving off the harshest reductions and averting a credit default by raising the debt ceiling. For Boehner, who leaves office Friday, his chief regret was the failure to reach a broader “grand bargain” to put the government’s fiscal house in order. “Not getting the budget deal with President Obama still stings,” Boehner said, in his office at the Capitol, smoking cigarettes during an exit interview with reporters. As Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate, Ryan was half of a ticket that won nearly 61 million votes nationwide. “I don’t think there’s another time in American history when somebody becomes Speaker who millions of people have already voted for and know in a way that most legislative people are never known. He’s a national political figure outside of and in addition to the institution.” That gives Ryan political leverage with recalcitrant members of his own conference never enjoyed by John Boehner, the consummate insider he’s replacing.

But Washington has lost its appetite to go big and, as the past six weeks of plodding budget talks show, it has increasingly lost its capacity to even go small. “It’s not even a deal, it’s an agreement,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi the Democrat from San Francisco. “A deal is you give me this I’ll give you that. The prevailing sense of olfactory unease in the party was perhaps captured best by Boehner, an Ohio barkeeper’s son who has displayed a touch of the poet since saying in September that he would quit Congress rather than continue fighting with rebels in his own ranks.

It wasn’t that at all.” Talks had been underway since mid-September, and they were making one last push to extract something — almost anything — for their votes to raise the debt limit. Despite his youth — at 45, Ryan is the youngest Speaker in nearly 150 years — he calls on a rare depth of experience in the chamber: He started there as a staffer right out of college and was elected to the first of his nine terms at 28. Discussing his hopes for a federal budget deal in his final days as speaker, he found a perfectly pungent metaphor to sum up his situation. “I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” said Boehner, now 65. “I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there.” I have never tidied up a farm building myself, but I have stepped in some of the stuff found on the floors of such places, so I caught Boehner’s drift. Your solution is MORE POWER FOR THE SPEAKER?!?!?!?” Ingraham: “From misrepresenting the outrageous Fast Track &TPP to amnesty & foreign workers, list of demands, Ryan’s possibly the worst Spkr choice.” Ryan’s amazing free-fall from grace seems to be part of a larger race to the radical right, not only among powerful forces with the Republican Party, which now seem to be fundamentally opposed to governing and legislating, but also within key portions of the right-wing media.

How reassuring it would be if we actually fixed the tax code, put patients in charge of their health care, grew our economy, strengthened our military, lifted people out of poverty, and paid down the debt. In that, he’s unlike Boehner’s two previous would-be successors, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, both of whom vaulted into leadership in their second terms on the strength of their political fundraising. Lacking the votes to override the Democratic leader of the executive branch, Barack Obama, they nonetheless faulted their party leaders for dealing with him. If your only experience is in leadership, “you’re mostly thinking about competition with Democrats, either electorally or legislatively,” the lawmaker said. “Most members don’t live in that world. Most members live in the world of their committee.” And Ryan, an ideologue who nonetheless has built a track record of working across the aisle, has pledged to return legislative agency to the committees — a move that should encourage his disaffected fringe to rejoin the process.

Now, as the now third most powerful man in the country, Ryan will have to find a way to partner with President Barack Obama without appearing to neglect his House. Moral authority. “He didn’t want the damn job in the first place and everybody knows it.” That doesn’t mean he can count on everyone in his ranks to help, “but they’ll at least feel bad about not helping for a change.” There are a thousand ways this could go sideways.

And Bush went after his one-time protege, Marco Rubio, and Rubio came back smart, fast, tough and got a highlight moment out of it, just one of several for Rubio, by the way. Yet “Ryan hasn’t undergone any sort of David Brockian-type worldview change that would warrant labeling him an apostate,” wrote conservative Matt Lewis at The Daily Beast.

But, eventually, Boehner had his way: the House approved a budget agreement reached in private by bipartisan negotiators, threw the US business community a bone by voting to reopen the Export-Import Bank and made Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee — the new speaker. He still believes that social programs are a “hammock.” He still believes that the Social Security survivor benefits that he and his family received throughout his adolescence cause dependency on other people and their families. No doubt for House Republicans, and the party more broadly, the route back toward a coherent governing vision — and the cohesion to execute it — remains long and jagged. Although a budget deal will make his life as speaker simpler, Ryan’s initial reaction was to complain about the odour. “I think the process stinks,” he said.

A portion of the conservative press, of course, has never been in love with an establishment-type players like Jeb Bush, so his lack of support this year hasn’t been surprising. Bush, by contrast, came off as Little Lord Fauntleroy set down in a Dirty Harry movie. “I can’t fake anger,” he confessed toward the start of the proceedings. “And it troubles me that people are rewarded for tearing things down.” Meanwhile, mentions of excrement returned with all the regulatory of a Wagnerian leitmotif. Boehner, categorized by critics as “unable or unwilling to do anything that would endanger his hold on power.” If nothing else, Ryan is willing to negotiate and open doors. “Neither the members nor the people are satisfied with how things are going,” he said Thursday. “We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business.”

And then after the debate, the candidates’ staffs all complained to the Republican National Committee chairman, and he pulled the plug on NBC’s contract. ELVING: Many people are dissatisfied with this format – all the candidates standing hour after hour, very little interchange, very little chance to discuss anything other than the questions of the moderators, which may or may not reflect what people really want to hear.

They still need to pass the actual formal spending bills that implement that before December 11, and we’re going to see some riders attached to that – defunding Planned Parenthood or Obamacare – things that would force a veto from the president.

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