Lord of the Flies

Without Tom Delay, the House Republican leadership is collapsing.  According to Congress Daily [sub], the House Budget Committee and Appropriations Committee are tussling over emergency disaster aid.  

House Appropriations Chairman Lewis is opposing the FY07 budget resolution because of a proposal to cap emergency disaster aid, and he is whipping members of his panel to do the same, creating a headache for his party's leaders. GOP leaders already face defections from 10 to 15 moderates because of what they consider insufficient discretionary spending levels. Additionally, a handful of conservatives might defect, leaving leaders well short of votes in a chamber divided 231-202. House Majority Leader Boehner would not commit today to a vote before next week's Easter recess. "We are working hard to get a budget," he said. "We're working with members on all sides of this issue and trying to come to an agreement."

The fight is pitting moderates against conservatives, and it has escalated into a Committee turf war, with the Appropriations Committee fighting the Budget Committee.  Moderates and conservatives are threatening to defect from a final vote, and Pelosi's caucus isn't allowing the House leadership any room.  

There were always tensions within the Republican party.  Without Delay and his soothing stream of money, the carrot for cooperation is gone.  Meanwhile, the movement conservatives are agitating for spending cuts, because they are freed from the constraints that Delay's machine was putting on them and they are running as fast as they can from their conservative failed President.  This is breaking party discipline, the machine is coming unglued.  Right now, Republicans are working together out of habit and fear of the Democrats, but it's not clear how long that's going to last.  

With all the major players in the conservative movement protecting themselves or in weakened positions, the Republican Party is operating blind, with members acting independently and aggressively against each other.  They are even starting to work against each other openly, which has previously been the province of the Democratic Party.  

This is a very good thing.  It helps create a better narrative for Democrats in 2006, but it also allows Republicans to have a much needed debate about where their party is going.  A healthy Republican Party is critical for our democracy.  Right now, it is full of malignant corruption.  The removal of the leadership class will hopefully allow new and more honest and progressive voices a place.

Tags: House Republicans, Republican Study Committee, Tom DeLay (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Re: Lord of the Flies

About six months age we moved off the island and the GOP moved to it.  The problem is they took the country with them!  The beastie needs to eat them all and leave the country alone.

by howardpark 2006-04-06 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Lord of the Flies

It helps create a better narrative for Democrats in 2006, but it also allows Republicans to have a much needed debate about where their party is going.  A healthy Republican Party is critical for our democracy.

Agreed.  With only two parties, we cannot afford to have just Democrats or (god forbod!) just Republicans as a choice for sensible voters.

For Christ's sake, there's only two!  It'd be nice if both offered non-batchit-crazy agendas.

by teknofyl 2006-04-06 05:58PM | 0 recs
Without Delay

all of the old divisions inside the Republican Party are going to become disgustingly clear.

Its only because of Delay's iron fist as Majority Leader that all of these divisions have been paved over (with special interest moeny and influence).

If Democrats continue to hold their ground, we will begin to cement the image of unity, cohesion, and the ability to lead, in the minds of the public.

It should all be fun to watch.

by gatordemocrat 2006-04-06 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Without Delay

Sort of reminds me of Iraq under Hussein.  Once we took him out, all those ancient hatreds came to the surface and they started killing each other (paper government notwithstanding).

The parallels are actually striking. You have your secular minority (the old-line, or mainstream Republicans = the Sunni minority that used to be in charge) and you have your looney televangelist with a gun majority (the Talibaptists = the Shiites who are now in charge and just waiting for us to leave).  Neither side likes or trusts the other one, and without a strongman in place they won't get along at all.

by beerwulf 2006-04-06 06:46PM | 0 recs
Faintest sound of Dixie being whistled?

It's almost as if there's been a Dem Wednesday Meeting and this is the script du jour, to counter the long-running GOP script the Dems have no agenda/are weakly led.

The idea's absurd, of course. The Dems being organized enough to have a Wednesday Meeting...

Now, I'd agree that a GOP implosion is a clear possibility - probability, almost. But I'd suggest that Dems should put it out of their minds as inducing complacency and counting chickens.

Since the GOP House machine hasn't really been tested like this before, we just don't know. Perhaps it's sufficiently robust to function at a reduced but generally satisfactory level (taking more hits but getting the essential stuff through).

It's only got perhaps another thirty (?) or so legislative days to survive. (I'm too lazy to check that number: but the House hasn't exactly been short on recess time in the 109th!)

Or - as you suggest - it could be habit and fear. Motors not to be underestimated in pols mostly up for reelection in seven months!

I'd be interested to see a rundown of the main pinch-points likely to arise for the House GOP between now and November.

One huge thing will be managing expectations: the subliminal GOP script, presumably, will be that, with DeLay gone, naturally new management is taking time to bed in, renewal is needed, but no cause for alarm.

House majorities have failed to produce a budget before and survived, I believe, including (I think) the GOP during its current run of control since the 104th. And the budget is one of the few measures since the advent of Bush on which Dems have been consistently united in votes on passage.

Besides, a budget is essentially a work of horse-trading and split the difference. Not the hardest sort of negotiation to manage.

I'd be looking at whether the garden variety corporate welfare bill is getting passed as usual. That's the GOP engine-room, and there's a bench of Dem sympathisers that can often be counted on to help out on those bills.

Now, if those Dems started sitting on their hands, then things would really be getting interesting!

by skeptic06 2006-04-06 06:29PM | 0 recs
A Healthy GOP?

Well, they're a damned long way from the days of Barry Goldwater.  

Unless the Buchananites emerge without pissing off McJesus, Inc and Delayniacs, the GOP is headed toward it's second major independent break-off in the last 15 years.

There are a lot of Perot Republicans who are pissed.

by jcjcjc 2006-04-06 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Lord of the Flies

The Massachussetts health care plan is an example of why you need too strong parties.  Its a double subsidy to the insurance companies, once directly, and once by requiring everyone to purchase health insurance with no cost controls.  And it doesn't break the link between health insurance and employment.

This is what you get from a one party state.  Yes, there is a Republican governor (put there deliberately to check the legislature), but he can't do much because his vetoes can be overridden.

by Michels 2006-04-06 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Lord of the Flies

Sure, we are in the catbird's seat and can exploit these fissures within the Republican Party only if people like Joe Lieberman stop fucking other Democrats at every turn and for all the world (and Fox News) to see.

by jgarcia 2006-04-06 08:33PM | 0 recs
Amen

by gatordemocrat 2006-04-07 05:48AM | 0 recs

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