With Tuesday's decision to bring to a vote an increase in the nation's
Mr. Boehner ushered in the era of using the debt ceiling as leverage to gain other policy concessions when, at the urging of the newly emboldened and
But the political debacle of the
Mr. Boehner made some attempts at finding a face-saving concession from the Democrats that Republicans could use to declare victory, but finding none, he abruptly announced to his caucus Tuesday morning that he would bring a clean debt limit vote to the floor. According to reports about the meeting, his announcement was greeted largely with silence.
That's not to say that Republicans were enthusiastic about Mr. Boehner's plan. The vast majority in the House voted against the bill, and various tea party groups are calling for the speaker to be replaced. But there appears to be no real momentum behind such an effort.
That doesn't mean Mr. Boehner has carte blanche to do whatever he likes as speaker. His recent backtracking on a plan to move forward with
Mounting a coup against Speaker Boehner over his debt ceiling apostasy would probably be good politics in many Republican House members' districts. But it would be terrible for the party as a whole, since it would highlight the disarray in the GOP and detract from Republicans' efforts to make this election about the troubled launch of the
Midterm politics weigh heavily against the prospects of immigration reform or a sensible package of budget and tax reform — not to speak of, say, legislation to deal with climate change. Any of those would hand President Obama a victory and at least tangentially boost the fortunes of Democrats running for Congress. But in the likelihood that Republicans retain the majority in the House this fall and perhaps even take control of the
The most likely breakthrough is on immigration reform. Given the GOP's abysmal track record with Hispanic voters in recent presidential elections, political pragmatism would counsel that Republicans not block such legislation if they have any desire to retake the
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