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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — From now on, it’s the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah House.

The political world stopped for a moment when Speaker John Boehner broke into the jaunty old Disney tune — “My, oh my, what a wonderful day” — after a news conference during which he threw in the towel on the debt ceiling fight. He found himself trapped between the immovable object of Democrats determined they would never again let Republicans take the nation’s credit hostage and the irresistible force of a dysfunctional, crisis-addicted GOP majority of which he is the putative leader. Boehner decided to skip away in song.

Feb. 11, 2014, was, in fact, a wonderful day. It marked the end of a dismal experiment during which the right wing of the conservative movement did all it could to make the United States look like a country incapable of governing itself rationally. We were so caught up in our own nasty politics that we forgot we’re supposed to be a model for how democracy should work. There will be other episodes of foolishness, but the debt ceiling bomb has finally been defused.

Moreover, there were lessons here that should be applied from now on. The first is that refusing to negotiate over matters that should not be subject to negotiation in the first place is the sensible thing to do. President Obama learned this the hard way after the debilitating budget battle of 2011.

It’s true that both parties played political games around the debt ceiling in the past. But until our recent Tea Party turn, politicians always kept these symbolic skirmishes within safe limits. The 28 House Republicans who faced reality by voting to move on for another year sent a signal that they want to return to those prudent habits.

But this means that 199 Republicans voted to go over the cliff. Or, to be more precise, many pretended they were willing to take the leap to appease big conservative funders and organizations, knowing that a minority of their GOP colleagues and the Democrats would bail them out. These profiles in convenience included Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the Budget Committee, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who chairs the House Republican Conference.

This tells us something important: The House Republican majority now governs largely through gestures and is driven almost entirely by internal party fractiousness and narrow political imperatives. When Boehner tried to tie the debt ceiling vote to a popular proposal to restore modest cuts to military pensions, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), complained that he could not vote to raise the debt limit but also didn’t want to vote against the pension restoration.

  • JD Mulvey

    I’m still tying to decipher what principled basis Mr. Boehner has for determining when to apply the Hastert Rule and when not to.

    • luzzjl524

      my Aunty Arianna got a nearly new silver
      Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab by working part time off of a macbook air. try this

      • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

        Moderators, please remove this spammer.

        • Icerabbit

          Agreed, the problem is that disqus needs to have a broader approach to stop the spammers globally.
          These folks seem to have a day job leaving spam on the top 5-10 articles on every site that uses disqus. (so there’s another 5 at least on this site today) This person had 1000 spam comments yesterday and is hopping around from site to site leaving today. You can literally follow the spammers going around, upvoting each others spam sometimes too, and disqus does nothing to prevent it. 1300 and counting.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      I love how we still call this the Hastert Rule when it was imposed on him by Tom DeLay when the latter engineered Hastert’s ascension to the Speakership. No matter who held the title, Hastert never did anything that DeLay was opposed to. After all, DeLay engineered the fall of Newt Gingrich, he could surely do the same to a non-entity like Denny Hastert.

  • James Bowen

    The thing about that Senate immigration bill is that the American public opposes it. The leaders of both parties would like to pass it but have gotten extremely negative feedback from their constituents. What those who are pushing the Senate immigration bill don’t want to be known is that there are many, many moderates who oppose that bill. It is not just the right wing of the GOP that opposes it.

    • awakenaustin

      Is “the American public” opposed to the Senate’s immigration reform bill the same American public who opposed President Obama re-election in 2012? You saw how well that worked out.
      Given the Senate vote on the bill and the predicted vote in the House if it were allowed on the floor, where are those many mystery moderates hiding?

      • James Bowen

        Just because someone voted for Obama in 2012 does not mean they were pro-amnesty. Immigration was barely an issue at all in that election. It got some attention in the GOP primaries but then disappeared after that. There is also no guarantee that the Senate bill would pass the House if it were brought to the floor. Notice that the Democrats in the House, with a few exceptions, have not been all that aggressive or enthusiastic about pushing for its passage.

        • awakenaustin

          My point – Lots of people deceived themselves into believing “the American Public” was opposed to the re-election of President Obama because they spent a great deal of time inside an echo chamber. They were dismayed to learn that after all “the American Public” did not oppose his re-election.
          When people use the term the American public opposes this or opposes that or is in favor of this or that, they are frequently merely repeating what their group of acquaintances thinks or indulging in a form of wishful thinking that they themselves represent “the American Public”.
          The terms “pro-Amnesty” and “amnesty” are code words used to describe Immigration reform from a particular political perspective.

          Re: the Demos in the House. Put it up for a vote. Let us see how the vote goes. You may have the opportunity to tell me I told you so or to eat crow.

          • James Bowen

            I for one never thought that Obama was likely to lose that election. I didn’t know which way it would go until it happened. Right now, however, all indications are that there is, among people who are engaged on the immigration issue, almost no popular support whatsoever for the Senate bill or something like it. What it does have is big business and a lot of money behind it. I don’t know what would happen if it were put up for a vote in the House. What I am suggesting is that the Democrats in the House have gotten negative feedback from their constituents on the things the Senate bill does, and would therefore rather avoid the subject and take up other issues.

          • Independent1

            Are you at some point going to stop posting this lie??

            “The thing about that Senate immigration bill is that the American public opposes it.”

            IT IS an outright lie. Here’s an article that was published a couple months ago which states quite clearly that even a majority of Republicans in swing districts support an immigration bill that allows illegals to attain to citizenship. (And note that the majority isn’t even close IT’S 75%!!!!)

            From the Huffington Post last November (note that the poll was even taken by a Republican pollster):

            WASHINGTON — A majority of likely voters in 20 Republican-represented swing congressional districts support the broad outlines of comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

            About three-fourths of respondents in the districts surveyed supported allowing undocumented immigrants to earn eventual citizenship, either with or without border security provisions, according to polling commissioned by pro-reform group

            The survey was conducted by Basswood Research and Republican pollster Jon Lerner on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. The pollsters spoke to likely general election voters in 20 swing districts currently represented by Republicans in Congress. The districts included those represented by Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.), two of the three GOP members backing a comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by House Democrats. Most of the others representing the districts that were surveyed are being targeted as potential “yes” votes for immigration, including Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).
            When are you going to stop your trolling and stop posting one lie after another about immigration reform. Your nonsense is really getting to be very tiring!!! And to be quite honest, I think the moderators of the NM should bar you from blogging.

          • James Bowen

            A poll doesn’t prove anything. In fact, polls are often unreliable and politicians typically take them with a grain of salt. Answer me this: if amnesty is so popular, then why do members of Congress hear almost exclusively from their constituents a message in opposition to amnesty and in support of enforcing immigration laws? Why do the pro-amnesty groups bus in people to Congressional Town Hall meetings from outside the district?

          • CherMoe

            I seriously doubt any Republican would pay anything more than “lip service” on behalf of immigration reform because they are SCARED TO DEATH of having these people gain citizenship and vote Democrat. That’s what this really is all about. Which is ALSO the reason they are working feverishly to SUPPRESS the votes of black minorities, college students, WOMEN, etc. Because they primarily vote Democrat.

          • Independent1

            I agree with that 100%. Of course Republicans who are looking to be elected to office don’t want minorities, including immigrants, to vote (be allowed to be citizens). Most foreigners can see just how corrupt the GOP has become and want nothing to do with these outright thieves. I’ve received a number of responses from Europeans while blogging, asking – why can’t Republicans in America see how crooked the Republican party is, are they blind???

        • Sand_Cat

          Wow, did you ever miss the point! Are you really that slow, or did you just sidestep the point on purpose?

          • James Bowen

            What point did I miss? I said that I don’t know whether something like the Senate immigration bill would pass the House or not. By the way, the House cannot currently take up the Senate bill because Sen. Reid has not sent it over to the House.

          • Independent1

            Why would Reid waste his time sending it over to the House when the message he’s been getting from Boehner is that he wouldn’t bring it up for a vote??

          • James Bowen

            Good question. I don’t think it would take much for Sen. Reid to send the bill over to the House, so I doubt wasting his time has anything to do with it. I don’t know the answer for sure, but I think it has something do with this: the Senate bill contains appropriations. It is a violation of the U.S. Constitution for a bill that originated in the Senate to contain appropriations. The House could therefore “blue slip” the bill if it was sent to them. Blue slipping would undo the Senate vote of passage and the Senate would have to strip the appropriations out and pass the bill again. Rep. Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has threatened to do just that. Therefore, this bill has the best chance of passing Congress by having the House pass some other immigration bill that could then go to conference with the Senate bill.

    • howa4x


    • Faraday_Cat

      If that’s true, then why did I see from Google, in 3 seconds, that 71 percent want something like the Senate bill:

      • James Bowen

        These polls do not reveal much. There are also polls, such as those conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, which show the opposite. What the polls say seem to depend on who is asking. The next step is to look at other indications. Those indications show a public that, where engaged on this issue, is extremely hostile to the Senate bill. Those indications include constituent feedback to Congress, comment threads in news sites (like the one you link above), and website visitation of pro-amnesty vs. anti-amnesty organizations.

        • Independent1


          • James Bowen

            Putting everything in caps does not make what you are saying true. If you are getting this info from some poll I have news for you: polls are not a reliable measure of public opinion. As I recall, right before the 2012 election there were polls showing that Mitt Romney was likely to win. If amnesty is so popular, then why do they have to bus people in to Congressional Town Hall meetings from outside that district? Why do members of Congress hear almost exclusively calls for no amnesty and enforcement from their constituents? Outside of polls that are often commissioned by interest groups which are pushing for amnesty, there is almost no evidence of any significant popular support for amnesty.

          • Independent1

            And you just continue with the BS!! Polls are not wholly accurate but they are not wildly inaccurate. This poll shows overwhelming support for immigration reform at 75%. Most polls are at least accurate within plus or minus 5%; even if we give this one plus or minus 10%, that still says that at least 65% of Republicans favor the Senate’s immigration reform bill. So you’re attempt to discredit the poll is just more BS!!!

          • James Bowen

            No, polls can be completely false sometimes. You still haven’t answered by questions. If what these polls say is true, how come this enormous popular support for amnesty isn’t being seen in constituent feedback to Congress or website visitation?

          • Independent1

            Well, if I used one ounce of commone sense, I would say it’s because among the 75% of Republicans who are in favor of the immigration legislation, who agree with the plus 70% of other Americans like myself who would also like to see immigration reform happen, there are not as many nutcases like yourself who are hellbent on seeing that it doesn’t happen. In case you haven’t noticed in your delusion, by far, activiists who are AGAINST SOMETHING, are far more fervent about seeing that what they DON’T LIKE happens or stops happening – than there are folks who would prefer to see something happen going out of their way to make a big issue about it.

          • James Bowen

            I don’t know about the part about pro-amnesty types not being as excited about this and not being as inclined to contact members of Congress. After all, you don’t see anti-amnesty people going to Town Hall meetings outside their Congressional districts. The polls you mention are often commissioned by interest groups that want amnesty and more immigration. Likewise, there are other polls, such as those by Pulse Opinion Research, that show the opposite. The polls say different things depending on who is asking. It makes sense to look at these other indications, and the other indications reveal almost no popular support for amnesty whatsoever. According to, NumbersUSA has beaten out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, La Raza, and America’s Voice in visitors each month for the past year, often by an order of magnitude. Also notice that the Democrats in the House are not aggressive or enthusiastic about this bill (with some exceptions). The support for this bill comes from big business and wealthy interests that stand to profit from cheap labor.

          • ulfur

            James can’t help it. The GOP can’t read polls. Remember Karl Rove on the 2012 election results.

          • DurdyDawg

            Yes.. But the scab believed it up until the end so, polls ARE useless except to those who want them to go their way.

    • BeverlyNC

      The American voters do NOT oppose immigration reform. In fact across every poll from Gallup to Rasmussen – raising the minimum wage polled highest across Party lines, across ethnic lines and across gender lines. Corporations are already raising their minimums to the $10.10 on their own. GAP announced theirs yesterday.
      Second highest in the polling was immigration reform and it again polled high across Party lines, across ethnic lines, and gender lines.
      Republicans do not listen to the People nor do they even have a clue what the people priorities are.
      It doesn’t matter how much money the Koch brothers spend. If Republicans stand against the minimum wage and Boehner continues to not let it come up for a vote – Republicans are going to lose big and never see it coming.

      • James Bowen

        These polls are not a reliable way of gauging public opinion. They are often commissioned by the interests that are lobbying for amnesty and more immigration. Polls commissioned by restrictionist groups, such as those taken by Pulse Opinion Research, reveal the opposite. In other words, what the polls say seems to depend on who is doing the polling. It makes sense then to look at other indicators, such as constituent feedback to Congress, comment threads on news sites, and the web traffic of groups that lobby for more immigration vs. groups that lobby for less immigration. Those indications reveal a public that, where engaged on this issue, is almost unanimous in opposition to amnesty and more immigration. If you don’t believe me, go to and compare the number of web visitors to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, La Raza, and America’s Voice to that of NumbersUSA.

  • howa4x

    The tea party got off easy because they knew that Boehner had the votes to pass the clean bill. Their vote was meaningless but plays well back home. Hypocrites and phonies that is all the GOP is. How many voted to raise it unquestioned when GWB asked?

  • Dominick Vila

    More disposable income translates to higher spending, which inevitably results in companies hiring more people to provide the products and/or services their customers demand. The excuses that have been made thus far to delay raising the minimum wage to livable wages is just that, excuses designed to satisfy the wishes of some of their masters and an ignorant base more interested in opposing anything the administration does, than doing what is right for our country and for themselves.

  • Angel Perea

    THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: More non-sense as rationale for keeping working Americans in Poverty! Even though Mark Kirk is in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, Republicans partisanship that controls the House of Representatives is unlikely to play along with extending Unemployed Insurance for millions of unemployed Middle Class Americans. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) as the most likely yes votes for any plan to restore those benefits but wish to finding a mutually agreeable way to pay for the benefits. Even though, these hypocrites did not need to require such off-sets during the 8 years of Bush.

  • Gwyn Kozma

    This is the third

  • gk

    This is the second day this article has appeared under a different headline. Would like to read those other articles!

  • Mark Forsyth

    See the Royal Scam,feeding on those who are constitutionally incapable of rigorous honesty.Unfortunately it lives on both sides of the aisle.Ever wonder who is running the show when our elected officials refuse to do their jobs.

  • AlfredSonny

    GOP stands for Gullible Oligarchy Puppets

  • ExRadioGuy15

    I’ve written two Facebook comments in the past two years regarding the realities of getting legislation passed in DC.
    Currently, the US House has 233 Republicans and 201 Democrats with a seat open. The math is simple: you need 218 votes or more of the full House to get something passed. Of the 233 GOPers, approximately 80 of them are nearly and completely useless; those Congresscritters that belong to the so-called “Suicide Caucus”, the people who won their districts by at least 20 percentage points in 2012. Thanks to GOP gerrymandering after the 2010 midterms, those 80 Congresscritters are pretty safe…it doesn’t matter what they do, their constituents will vote for them so long as their representative holds the party line. When you deduct the 80 “Suicide Caucus” members, that leaves about 150 votes of GOPers who represent “swing” districts, the Congresscritters that need to strike a balance to be re-elected. Very rarely does the Speaker have a consensus of his party. So, it means that, in order to get anything passed, he needs at least 70 votes (to be safe) from the Democrats to get something passed when the Suicide Caucus goes off the deep end, as they usually do. The other way for the Speaker to get something passed is for him to ask Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for Democratic help, and, if he can get it (200 votes), all he needs is about 20 Republicans to help him get something passed. Or, in the case where the Blue Dog Democrats agree with the Suicide Caucus (which happens more than you think), Boehner needs a “swing” GOPer for every Demo defector. 180 Demo voters means about 40 GOP Reps to help; 190 means 30, etc.
    In the Senate, there are 53 Demos, 2 Independents who caucus with the Demos and 45 GOPers. Even with the “nuclear option” being employed, the “silent filibuster” can still be employed by the GOP minority on legislation and Supreme Court nominees. When the filibuster is employed, 60 votes are needed to overcome it. When something comes down to a simple majority vote, the Democrats have enough votes to pass it. So, in filibuster situations, Majority Leader Harry Reid needs five GOP defectors to quash the filibusters. And, similar to the case in the House, any defectors from one side or the another need to be matched by someone from the “other side of the aisle”.
    By the way, the Hastert “Rule” is not a rule. It’s a general guideline that the GOP Speaker can use. In other words, the Speaker can use it as an excuse to possibly derail bipartisan legislation that has so much Democratic support that the “majority of the majority” don’t support it. As we’ve discovered, there’s a way that the minority party in the House can get around the Hastert “Rule”: the discharge petition…If at least 218 Representatives, regardless of party affiliation, sign on to one, they can force a vote on legislation. Usually, the House Speaker is the “traffic cop”, meaning that he or she decides whether a piece of legislation gets a full House vote or not.
    This is my suggestion to those who want to see immigration reform, the raising of the minimum wage plus any other legislation that the cowardly Speaker doesn’t want to touch: start using the discharge petition. The mathematics I detailed above also apply to discharge petitions. So long as the cowardly Speaker is afraid of his own shadow, it’s the only way much will get done.

  • ulfur

    The current GOP base is motivated by fear and hate, not governing. Among other things they are incapable of following the money. They prove it everyday they claim minorities and poor people get more free stuff from the government than the 1%.

    The GOP base doesn’t know that the, white male dominated Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP invited all those illegal laborers here in the first place. The Illegal labor is great for breaking unions and driving down wages. You have not heard from the meat cutters union in the last couple of decades. “Hebrew National” was busted for employing illegal laborers in their processing plants.

    The GOP base thinks illegal citizens are trying to vote. The Republicans have worked very hard to make white racists and bigots comfortable in the GOP. Now those savages want to taker over the party. That is a problem of their own making.

    The Democrats are just the lesser of two evils. The GOP has double downed on evil winning.

  • charles king

    I have been living in small town USA for the last six months and I am surprise that the young white males having march on Washington D.C. to find out What’s? the hell going on, Where? is my Democracy Who? the hell is running the country. The reason I am sounding-off like this is because I have seen four generations and some of this kind of S***. My motto has always been “You Do Not Do Nothing”, Apply (Critical Thinking) like the President Obama did to the people of The United States, they re-elected him so let us, the VOTERS take a critical look at Congress and -C- Who? not voting for Health Care, Social Security, Public Education, Medic-care, Higher Wages, etc. Why? are you Not VOTING for the things that works for the American People. What? is it that you want. The VOTE is still Supreme, so do not waste time with these Republicans, Democracts, etc. Plutocracts, Capitalistic Pigs (Who? Do Not Want? Too Pay their fair share) Lets get rid of all these greedy pieces of T***S, save your Democracy. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. MR. C. E. KING