Daniel Newhauser

Your House of Republican Chaos

Speaker Boehner announced his resignation 25 September 2015.

Follow the bouncing something, as the spectacle inside the House GOP seems a performance for the ages. As the factions line up, Speaker Boehner’s allies are scorching the insurgency:

GOP lawmakers who’ve stood by Boehner’s side throughout his rocky five-year tenure as Speaker bitterly blamed the right flank for forcing a contested leadership race less than a year after the party won control of Congress in the 2014 midterm elections.

A fired-up House Ethics Committee Chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), speaking not long after Boehner dropped the bombshell at a Friday conference meeting that he’ll leave Congress at the end of next month, ripped into hard-line conservatives.

He accused them of opposing Boehner at every turn, and noted they have “never had a horse of their own.”

“Any jackass can kick down a barn door. It takes a carpenter to hang one. We need a few more carpenters around here. Everybody knows it,” Dent said off the House floor.

Leadership allies are frustrated by what they see as a repeated exercise in futility.

(Marcos)

And the hardliners posture:

A co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus has a warning for any Republican hoping to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): No one will get the promotion without our blessing.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a sharp critic of Boehner, said Friday that there are roughly 40 members of the group — and another 20 conservatives outside of it — who won’t back any new Speaker who fails their litmus test for conservative purity. And the group’s leadership endorsements, he warned, will be “a collective, corporate decision.”

“We have enough votes in the House Freedom Caucus to prevent anybody from being Speaker. We will be a voting bloc,” Huelskamp said.

“We’re looking for someone who, number one, has conservative principles and actually can articulate them, but also … follows through on John Boehner’s [2011] promise … [to] open up this House and let conservatives have a shot at things,” he added. “And at the end of the day, the Democrats had more shot at amendments than conservatives. So we’ve gotta talk about process as well.”

(Lillis)

And Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10) pretends his gavel ambitions have a chance of success, while other House players scramble to fall up the ladder.

This is the point at which we are supposed to make some sort of joke about things either starting or ceasing to make sense, and it is our shame to disappoint you; there is no baseline by which the idea of making sense makes any sense.

(more…)

Advertisements

The Senate GOP in Crisis

Mitch McConnell

“It is a useful thing when a political party reveals itself as utterly unsuited for national leadership.”

Fred Kaplan

In a way, everyone else is taking it well. That is to say, even the Iranians are trying very hard to enjoy themselves in the moment, and why not? It is not every day the United States Senate goes out of its way to afford a foreign nation the opportunity to school it on American constitutional issues. Or, as Akbar Shahid Ahmed explains, for Huffington Post:

After sparking a furor in Washington Monday with a letter signed by fellow Republican senators warning Iran against nuclear diplomacy with the Obama administration, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) went to the extra trouble of having his message translated into Farsi for Iranian leaders. Among his targets: foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Cotton needn’t have bothered with the translation. Zarif is more than capable of reading the Republicans’ letter in English. He attended prep school in San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Columbia University, and the University of Denver’s School of International Studies (where, Zarif told The New Yorker’s Robin Wright, a professor who had taught GOP foreign policy icon Condoleezza Rice once quipped to the young Iranian, “In Denver, we produce liberals like Javad Zarif, not conservatives like Condi Rice.”)

Zarif, leading his nation’s negotiations with the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China, put that education to use in his response Monday to the Republican message, which suggested that Iran’s leaders “may not fully understand our constitutional system.”

Zarif answered that it was Cotton and the 46 other Republican senators who signed his letter who suffered from a lack of “understanding.”

“The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfil the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations,” Zarif said, according to Iran’s government-controlled Tasnim News Agency.

He suggested that the Republican warning that a successor to President Barack Obama could undo any agreement with Iran was baseless. Zarif said the “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor.”

Yeah. See, it’s one thing to say there is a problem in that Mr. Zarif has a point. But the problem isn’t that an Iranian foreign minister has a point, rather that he needs to make it at all.

(more…)

The GOP, Pitching Their Biggest Tent

House committee leadership for the second session of the 114th Congress, via The Rachel Maddow Show, 18 November 2014.

When Republicans pitch a big tent, it’s usually still a sausage-fest.

How’s that? Comedically concise enough? Or do we need the lede?

House Republicans have selected white men to chair all but one of their standing committees next year.

The secretive Republican Steering Committee announced its recommendations late Tuesday after an all-day meeting to pick the heads of 17 committees, with all of those slots going to white men. Rep. Candice Miller, who was previously reappointed by Speaker John Boehner to lead the House Administration Committee, will remain the only woman to wield a gavel.

(Newhauser)

We would be remiss to omit the fact that Rep. Miller (R-MI10) is not the extent of GOP diversity in House leadership. House Republicans also picked Devin Nunes, a man of Portuguese descent who also carries a title of nobility from that country, to chair the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

It should also be noted that the House Administration Committee is the chair least sought by any member of Congress. Rachel Maddow tried her hand, last night, at telling the story of how Rep. Miller got that job. It would be funny, except that a humorous telling does nothing to abate the tragedy of the tale.

Meanwhile, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise responded to inquiries about the lack of diversity by explaining just how diverse Republican leadership is:

“Well, as part of leadership, we have a lot of women in our leadership team,” Scalise said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” when asked about the near-total absence of women in committee top spots.

In the House, 20 men were chosen for 21 key positions — the exception was Rep. Candice Miller, who will continue to chair the House Administration Panel.

Scalise also cited Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who was re-elected chairwoman of the Republican Conference and said, “Obviously, we have a number of other women that are very talented as part of our conference leadership.”

(McCalmont)

Look, it’s not quite the same as saying a private company has strong female representation among executives because all the males have female administrative assistants, but neither is it so different.

____________________

Newhauser, Daniel. “House Republicans Just Picked 21 Committee Chairs. 20 Are Men.” National Journal. 18 November 2014.

Maddow, Rachel. “Diversity not a priority in House GOP picks”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 18 November 2014.

McCalmont, Lucy. “Scalise defends male-dominated committee chairmanships”. Politico. 19 November 2014.