The Upcoming Final Act
In the immediate aftermath of the GOP capitulation this week, several observers stated that the outcome could backfire for Democrats because it made John Boehner’s hand stronger going forward with the Tea Party base of his caucus. We heard this from Luke Russert of NBC News, several GOP congressmen, and others.
And it is utter, moronic bullsh*t.
Boehner’s hand can only be strengthened to the degree he can get his whole caucus to line up behind his next set of moves on the budget and spending decisions ahead. But since the Tea Party base has already signaled they’ve learned nothing from this and still want all-out war, and since the moderates have already signaled they will not support another shutdown or debt ceiling hostage-taking, the notion that Boehner’s hand has been strengthened will evaporate the moment it becomes clear what the actual GOP agenda will be the next time. When the electorate sees that Paul Ryan and Boehner are insisting upon entitlement cuts and protecting corporate tax loopholes as the price for not taking us to another shutdown and hostage situation on the debt ceiling, Boehner will once again find himself in a political suicide he himself created. Not only will the next capitulation force into the open the GOP civil war that is already underway behind the scenes, but the electorate’s increasing disillusionment with the GOP as a national party will increase again.
Let’s be clear: Obama’s open reference and pivot from the final deal to talk of immigration reform and the farm bill have a clear political purpose. As Charles Blow of the New York Times correctly noted, not only has Obama sown the seeds of further destruction for the GOP, but he has set in motion their ultimate demise for the 2014 midterms. When the House GOP caucus refuses over the coming months to follow Obama’s lead on these two issues, it will ensure fissures between the GOP and Wall Street, agribusiness, some evangelical churches and the Latino electorate. In other words, Obama has already angled to unleash the perfect storm upon Boehner’s caucus, and take down the GOP for a generation. When the public sees that their choices are between one party that wants to get things done, and another that only focuses on racist anger towards nonwhites, it will be an easy choice.