Quite an interesting piece in Politico yesterday about how GOP House Speaker Boehner may force a government shutdown in order to pander to the crazies who now run the Republican party:
House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”
And it appears that Boehner is no longer in control of his caucus:
Starting Monday, Boehner will huddle with his leadership team to discuss his preliminary thinking on a spending strategy. A source who attended meetings to prepare for those private talks said GOP leaders are authentically at a loss on how to control members who don’t respond to the normal incentives of wanting to help party leaders or of avoiding situations — like default — that could be public relations nightmares.
Uh, we could have told you this was going to happen – we did tell you this was going to happen. The Republicans let their party be taken over by religious crazies a good decade, if not two, ago, and now they let it be taken over by fiscal crazies. And guess what? They’re proposing a lot of crazy.
Crazy in point: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, our own little Mormon Lindsey Graham, always so feisty and fey.
“For too long, the pitch was, we’ll deal with it next time,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a conservative from Utah. He said GOP lawmakers are prepared to shut things down or even default if Obama doesn’t bend on spending. “No one wants to default, but we are not going to continue to give the president a limitless credit card.”
I’m sorry, but as Paul Krugman noted the other day, the President doesn’t pass budgets or appropriations bills. House Republicans like Jason Chaffetz do. The President only spends the money they give him. He can spend no more. so Chaffetz is actually upset that the President is spending the money that Chaffetz and his fellow House Republicans gave the President.
But don’t expect consistency from this crowd. Crazy doesn’t need logic.
Charles Pierce at Esquire has a great take on this (and some harsh words for the Politico story I linked to above):
In this installment, our intrepid gumshoes manage to pry loose quotes from various vandals and dumbasses in and out of the Republican House caucus, and in and out of government as well, to the effect that they have every intention of blowing up the American economy over the next few weeks if they don’t get absolutely everything they absolutely want. (There are drug gangs in Mexico who are more open to negotiations than these people.) The hero of the tale seems to be the embattled prince of Orange, John Boehner who, the authors tell us, may just have to agree to a government shutdown so that some of the angrier feral children over whom he presides won’t take flamethrowers to the classroom rather than take their afternoon naps….
Here you have “GOP officials” saying flat out that Boehner may have to agree to a government shutdown — which, it should be noted, but wasn’t in Politico, will affect the whole damn country — in order to placate an insane splinter of a faction of his party. Presented with a clear example of how the Republicans have become demented, and a clear example of how that dementia is a danger to the nation, an important story by anyone’s lights, Politico instead presents this information merely as a threat to the speakership of John Boehner, as though that’s all that’s at risk here. (This problem might have been solved if the two newshounds had talked to, you know, Democrats, but this is Politico, and y’all know better than that.)