Thursday, October 3, 2013

Is The Shutdown All About Saving Boehner's Job?

Yes, according to this article in today's Washington Post by Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan. They claim enough Republicans favor a "clean" continuing resolution on the budget that the Senate version would pass if Boehner brought it to the floor for a vote. However, that Republican support amounts to only a small percentage of the House Republican conference, and Boehner is under intense pressure from a somewhat larger (but not a majority) percentage of his conference - the Tea Partiers - to hold out. The bottom line, according to Cillizza and Sullivan, is that Boehner would likely lose his job as Speaker, if he allowed a vote on the Senate version of the continuing resolution.

So, the question is whether Boehner is refusing to bring the Senate bill to the floor for a vote out of principle or merely to save his own job. He could, as a matter of principle, oppose a "clean" continuing resolution because he believes it would be bad for the country or because he believes that the Speaker, as a matter of practice, should bow to a plurality of his own conference (rather than being an actual leader). But if he is merely catering to the Tea Party blowhards to save his job as Speaker, then he is disserving the country and his constituents as a cowardly careerist.

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