“On every major issue we’ve faced for the past two and a half years, the math has been the same: House Republicans either find a way together to get to 218, or the Democrats who run the rest of Washington essentially get everything they want,” he added, pressing for House GOP unity.This is, well....not true.
Look: with a normal, healthy party, 218 could be important, as the process of getting to consensus would involve internal compromises and as the various factions agree to work together going forward. That would allow the conference leadership to negotiate on behalf of the party, with everyone understanding that the leadership would cut the best deal possible -- even if what they could not win might not be spread equally around all party groups.
That's not what we have with the House GOP. Instead, we basically have a group that is large enough to prevent any GOP-only measure from passing which makes crazy demands that have zero chance of being achieved in those final negotiations. And most of the rest of the party is terrified of allowing any perceived distance between themselves and the wacko demand group.
But at the same time, everyone knows that sooner or later something will have to pass the House that is also acceptable to the Democrats. And that implies that there will, at some point, be real bargaining, just as there was, for example, on the fiscal cliff. But House Republican absence from the real bargaining isn't related to whether they can first participate in a symbolic Ritual of Conservative Obedience. Basically, Boehner hasn't been involved in bargaining because his conference (reportedly) ordered him to stay out of the bargaining.
That said: I agree with Brian Beutler that the Ritual of Conservative Obedience -- the defund-Obamacare CR vote now scheduled for Friday -- doesn't make the final deal any more difficult, and it's probably a step forward that at least House Republicans have (apparently) agreed on the appropriate ritual.