Friday, October 9, 2015

tail wags dog; dog angry

House Republicans are in "turmoil," "chaos," disarray. Why would anyone want to be speaker under current conditions? Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, a very talented lawmaker from Texas cattle country says, "I'd rather be a vegetarian."

The search for a new speaker is now a huge political game of promises and salesmanship. What concessions would a candidate have to make in order to win support from the Freedom Caucus or other GOP radicals?

Politico has a story listing some of their demands:

"The House Freedom Caucus passed out a questionnaire and suggested changes to the House rules to every candidate for speaker of the House. Here is POLITICO's analysis of their requests:

  • The group of conservative hardliners wants to "decentralize" the Steering Committee, the panel that decides committee assignments. The HFC wanted to strip the speaker and majority leader of their outsized influence on the panel.

  • The HFC wanted to know if the new speaker would agree to only pass a debt limit increase if it included entitlement reform.

  • They asked if the candidates would commit to impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

  • The HFC asked if the new speaker would commit to passing all 12 spending bills, and "not acquiesce to a continuing resolution in the event Senate Democrats try to block the appropriations process."
I think a prospective leader could grant slots on party and legislative committees, and I believe a return to the "regular order" of  reliance on committees and more open debate and amendments on the floor is a good thing -- for the Senate as well as the House.

But I can't see how a Speaker can promise accepting government default and shutdowns if the Senate and President don't go along with whatever passes the House. That would let a minority of a minority hobble the economy and the government.

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