sofa kingsofa king's Journal
As noted above, Democrats have a chance to flip the House, lord willing and the creeks don't rise.
But if we have to deal with a Republican-controlled House in the next Congress, we'll almost certainly be dealing with John Boehner as Speaker, for a number of reasons.
First, Boehner and the combined staves of the House Republican Leadership are infinitely more adept at exploiting parliamentary rules than the Tea Partiers who have slashed their way into the Republican works. Being a Tea Partier almost necessarily shackles that person with predictable um, abilities, or lack thereof. One of those lacking traits is an inability to learn easily or well. Yes, I am calling them stupid. Stupid Congressmen make stupid choices about their own staff and stupid choices about how they execute their plans--as we have so vividly experienced in the past month.
A right-wing authoritarian loses to a sociopath who pretends to be a right-winger, like Boehner, every time. This is because the socipaths are not beholden to any moral, ethical, or dogmatic considerations. It's true that Republican leadership has been losing its grip over the past several years. In the past I have likened this process to a melting peanut butter cup: a thin shell of evil containing an oozing mass of stupid inside. The hold of "evil" Republicans over "stupid" Republicans has been steadily eroding, to be sure, but I don't think they're going anywhere just yet--not in this case, anyway.
Second, Boehner has successfully fought off such challenges in the past and those opponents, such as Eric Cantor, have quite likely already been neutralized through threat of disclosure. It is entirely safe to assume, I think, that all Republicans in Congress are corrupt, and therefore vulnerable to disclosure of some sort. The longer they stay in the House and the more times they plot to usurp the standing leadership, the more likely those people are to have already had the dirt dug on them. So the new kids get no help from the schemers on the fringes of Republican leadership, this time.
Third, the position of the Speaker, historically, has been most powerful when wielded against one's own party. Consider for example the failed coup attempt against Newt Gingrich in mid-1997. John Boehner himself and a fellow you've never heard about named Bill Paxon plotted to overthrow Gingrich and put Paxon in his place, but their plan was betrayed by Dick Armey to Newt Gingrich. Gingrich totally destroyed Paxon's up-and-coming career, forever (by threatening to toss Paxon out of the closet, I have it on the best authority).
Boehner himself was ejected from his leadership position the following year and he spent eight years on ice until his scheming against Tom Delay finally paid off in 2006. He shall never forget that lesson.
So Boehner knows all the tricks, tips and pratfalls of this game, and his opposition is too stupid to learn them. Speaker or Minority Leader, we are still likely to be dealing with him.
On October 25, 1944, off the island of Samar, one of the larger nightmares the U.S. Navy could envision actually happened. A Japanese surface fleet of 12 battleships and cruisers (including the largest battleship in the world, IJN Yamato, which displaced more than all American combat ships on the scene), a dozen destroyers, and thirty of the first kamikaze planes descended upon a sizeable portion of the Philippine invasion fleet--transports and auxiliary ships that could not defend themselves. The main US carrier fleet had been deliberately lured hundreds of miles away and was in no position to help.
Standing in the way of Admiral Kurita's dreadnoughts were two groups of tiny escort carriers, fielding a few hundred obsolete planes without armor-piercing bombs, and a handful of destroyers and destroyer escorts. The Japanese bore down upon the nearly helpless American combat ships, firing enormous shells that were fitted with colored dye-packs, ripping the ocean between them with huge columns of brightly-colored water.
The American admiral in charge, Clifton Sprague, was outnumbered and outgunned, and being chased down as it ran before the Japanese at half their speed, the escort carriers firing back with the single five-inch guns (nicknamed "stingers" or "pea shooters" they had for anti-ship defense. Meanwhile, American planes attacked, sometimes faking strafing runs without ammunition, and the destroyers turned into the pursuing Japanese ships and fired spreads of torpedoes, which disrupted the Japanese formation at heavy cost.
At 0924, his own flagship having been hit several times and still dodging torpedoes, Admiral Sprague heard one of his signalmen suddenly yell, "dammit boys, they're getting away!"
It was true. The Japanese fleet was turning away short of the auxiliary fleet and retiring in the direction from which it had come. Admiral Sprague had "won" the Battle off Samar.
The US Navy never let up on the Japanese after that, and the battles of Leyte Gulf effectively ended concerted opposition by the IJN. We still had to land on Japan's own turf and burn them out one-by-one, for another eleven and a half months, but after Samar, it was only a matter of time.
This is where we Democrats are today. Republicans, heavily armed with unlimited dirty money, drove straight at the United States, bent upon its surrender or destruction, and were turned away at the last moment, primarily by their own incompetence.
And now, they're getting away!
It's time to send the Republican Party to its half of the American political seas--the bottom half. The Tea Party is already doing us the huge favor of fielding a large number of primary candidates against the money-Republicans, but that does us no favor at all if the winner of that fight gets to run unopposed in the general election.
I'm calling upon all the people of DU to look to your own districts, to help us to identify which ones do not have announced Democratic candidates yet, and to fill every candidate's slot in every Congressional district in the nation for 2014.
And, if no Democrat has the stones to step up and strike while the iron is hot, well, you have to do it, and so do I. We don't have to win in every district; we must make certain that Republican money gets blown keeping safe districts safe--from their own trog internal opposition first, and then from us. This is how we can politically, temporarily, de-fang the most powerful and most malevolent Americans, the people who have stolen half our nation's wealth from us in twelve short years.
This is our chance to throw the window open for the two last years of President Obama's term. We need to flip the House and could really use a supermajority in the Senate. Then and only then do we get to see what President Obama really wants to do. He deserves that chance and it is our duty to provide it to him.
I don't feel I'm particularly well liked or heeded here at DU, because I call this crazy world in the crazy way I see it. But others of you--those of you in positions to act, and to even step up to bat yourselves like our pal Representative Grayson--must pick up the standard and carry it forward now. This is our chance. We must not let the Republicans get away with what they have done.
Special hat tip to melody for posting this here:
Think back to what happened in 2011. Boehner played brinksman, and as soon as the economy was destabilized, some sort of national security provision kicked in which permitted the President to call in Congressional leadership to a closed meeting and send them out endorsing the President's own plan within 48 hours. The President (eventually) flensed a trillion dollars from the Department of Defense, and the Republicans did not get an extension of tax cuts for the rich, which killed them in the election the following year.
So this time the Republicans are offering to avoid the debt ceiling crisis, so that they can continue their shutdown stranglehold without the President being able to privately tell them that he's gonna shoot 'em if they don't sign on the line.
Conversely, Democrats have no reason whatsoever to give in. If they do nothing at all now, they win on Thursday night, and by "win," I mean that they get the best possible deal that they are going to get this year, because it's going to be the President's solution, which will give not a fuck about what Republicans want or care about, which is precisely what the United States needs.
By telling them to fuck off, we get this. The moment the problem becomes a crisis, we win and they get nothing at all.
So, I strongly suspect, we're going to wait and see what happens on Thursday.
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