Two groups are elated over the sudden and dramatic demise of John Boehner's "Plan B" in the House of Representatives last night: Liberals -- who are thrilled to see their opponents in utter shambles -- and hardline conservatives, who view the development as a principled victory and a much-needed rebuke of the GOP's weak-kneed leadership. National Review Washington Editor Robert Costa was on the Hill during the collapse, and filed a must-read story about how it all went down. In short, a demoralized Boehner stunned the caucus with a brusque announcement that he was pulling the bill. The...
Bohner's major mistake, if I read this correctly, was to treat the Tea Party contingent not as an asset, but as a group to be subdued, squelched, or otherwise brought around. Treating them as an asset, he could have gone to Obama and said, in effect, "Give me a deal that my Tea Partiers will accept, or that your fellow Democrats in the House will vote for. Or let us all go over the cliff together and see who really winds up getting blamed. On my side, we are Congress and we are so disliked by the public already that we have nothing to lose." Although I am not sure that the Tea Party wins much here, it is clear that Bohner has lost big time--and mostly through his own fault.
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