Monday, March 18, 2013

Elsewhere: Boehner Rule, Next in Line

Two new columns out...

Today over at TAP I have one developing an idea that comes from Sarah Binder: that the Speaker has replaced the Hastert Rule with a Boehner Rule of "Make the Senate Go First." It's actually a two-track process. When the party wants things to pass, they let the Senate negotiate out deals and then allow them to pass in the House, even if it means support from only a minority of Republicans. For everything else, however, the House is free to accommodate the crazies, since anything initiated by the House is on the "make a statement" track, not the track that yields legislation signed by the president. 

The other one is an update, over at Salon, of my debunking of the theory that Republicans nominate their "next in line" presidential candidate. Basically, most parties most of the time nominate anyone who is an identifiable consensus candidate going into the cycle, but beyond that there's no real indication that Republicans defer to "next in line" candidates.


  1. Regarding your next-in-line debunking: while Huck had (marginally) better showing than Romney, he dropped out of elective politics to make loads of money as a talking head. It's true that he could have gone back to elective politics afterwards, but he didn't choose to do so.

    Romney quite prominently quit because he had judged himself to be losing. He husbanded his resources and didn't make a spectacle of himself failing. It probably helped him attract a fair number of consultants and elite support later.

    Personally, I think that McCain was the only Republican with the guts to run in a very Democratic year.

  2. A more sophisticated version of the next in line theory is that the candidate has established a network, name recognition, and doesn't have to do much to persuade the millions of people who already voted for him - he can focus on the others. Also for more extreme candidates like Reagan, his prior run has desensitized the electorate that might otherwise be wary.

    Santorum will be a good test case because he's such a weak candidate. If he performs half decently, that's pretty decent support for the rule even if it's definitely not an iron law.

    (And yes, Romney was the obvious runner-up even from the 2009 perspective IMHO.)

    1. @Brian, I like your suggested test of the rule. I hope to remember it in 2015-6.


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