Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ten Republicans Publicly For a Clean CR

Jennifer Bendery has been collecting names and statements of House Republicans who now say they'll vote for a clean CR. She's up to 10.

A couple of things. First...this isn't exactly genius-level political skills, is it? Some of this group already flipped yesterday, so I suppose they're off the hook, but for the rest -- how is it possibly better for them to go along with the rush off the cliff, only to change their minds halfway down? Now, granted, I suppose it's better to do it today than three weeks from today (although even then, maybe not; that's a hard call to make). But really: how do they not see that eventually they would be voting against the crazy caucus? And if they did see that, how is staying loyal to the party right up until the point where the party gets in big trouble because of their votes wind up as a winning move? I'd sure like someone to explain that to me.

Second...Bendery says that it takes 17 to end the shutdown, but that's not quite right, is it? After all, there supposedly were plenty who would have voted for a clean CR if given a straight vote on one for some time now, but there hasn't been any such vote. So the question would be, if there were 17, what exactly would they be willing to do to press the point, which could be anything from nothing at all unless the bill came to the floor all the way up to Jonathan Chait's fantasy of a bipartisan coup against Boehner and the Republicans (see my response at PP).

There's nothing magic about identifying enough people to make a majority, if they don't control the floor. At some point, however, I do think that enough public votes for a clean CR would probably tip the balance. 25? 40? Surely if 60 Republicans were to say they wanted to vote for a clean CR, Boehner's position would be untenable, wouldn't it? My guess is the line would be some number greater than 25 and fewer than 60. Then again, there's also the question about whether hitting 17 would make it easier for others who privately want the shutdown to end to join them (because they wouldn't be as obvious targets in the larger group) or more difficult (because it's probably true that there are a very large group who want a clean CR to pass over their dissent, and once enough votes are found they might hope to stay off the hook). I really don't know what the answer to that one is.

Meanwhile, public dissent certainly makes it harder for Republicans to blame Democrats for the shutdown and to claim they're winning the shutdown. No surprise there; the shutdown is structurally heavily against their spin.


  1. I'd think 17 (maybe 20, to cancel a couple of defecting Democrats) would be enough if they say they would vote for a clean CR and *only* a clean CR, then follow it up by actually voting down everything else Boehner brings to the floor. Most of those in the tally are not so clear. But Boehner's position gets much less tenable if he stops being able to pass bills making new demands to the Senate.

  2. Why do you conclude that the 10 Bendery identifies are voting "against" the crazy caucus? Meehan's use of "clean, short-term funding bill" is a pretty clear signal that he's still on the train, he just doesn't want this shutdown (i.e. he thinks there's better ways to defeat the Administration/Obamacare).

    The other nine comments are more equivocal, but lacking evidence to the contrary it seems to me you have to conclude they're still on board with the caucus, just not this particular action.

  3. Is there a clean CR bill in committee longer than 30 days? If so, 218 could use a discharge petition.

    I'm guessing that there isn't one, and whatever happens, procedurally, will require at least acceptance by the GOP leadership.......

    I'm not sure how 218 would get their way without an underlying bill on the floor....would they reject a rule, thereby signalling that they would be willing to amend something, then amend it, then pass it? That's a tough sequence to keep the 218 together on. Once the rule failed, the amendment procedure would likely peel off at least a few of the 218, or be suspect to a poison pill.

    Procedurally, I'm having trouble figuring out how this ends. I just don't see how anything happens without the majority of the GOP conference accepting it (even if they vote against it...they won't fire Boehner over it)

  4. What political scientists say about how politicians will act reminds me of an old joke: Two radicals in a Greenwich Village café in the 1920's are debating recent Soviet politics. The first one says, "The objective situation requires that Trotsky do such-and-such." "Look," replied the other, "you know what Trotsky has to do, and I know what Trotsky has to do, but does *Trotsky* know what he has to do?"

  5. I read your piece. You did not say anything except you thought it was unlikely. If you are not going to bring in scholarship to support your view, your column has no point.

  6. Isn't the reason Republicans held the line until the shutdown because they believed Obama and the Democrats would cave? Or at least they felt they needed to test that theory.

  7. Isn't the reason Republicans held the line until the shutdown because they believed Obama and the Democrats would cave? Or at least they felt they needed to test that theory.


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