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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 
Corralling the kooks

by digby

Oh my. Who could ever have predicted that as they come down to the wire, this would happen?

On Tuesday, conservative Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) predicted defeat for House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) plan to raise the debt limit.

"I am confident as of this morning that there are not 218 Republicans in support of the plan," he said.

He was counting on the opposition of dozens of House conservatives who have in the past pledged not to raise the debt limit on terms that compromising with Democrats would require.

Twenty-four hours later, after taking a beating from the GOP establishment and party leadership, and after watching Democrats grow more and more confident in their ability to split the Republican coalition, those conservatives are reconsidering their rebellion.

"I think Jordan was probably counting me originally, but I've moved a little bit," Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-TX), a freshman conservative, told reporters in response to a question from TPM.

Fahrenthold joined the GOP caucus for a morning meeting Wednesday, after which several undecided members, and opponents of Boehner's bill, streamed out to tell reporters they're undergoing a change of heart.

"The risk of sending this country into uncharted territory with a default is really concerning me," Fahrenthold said.


Obviously, at this point, I have no more idea of what's happening in these negotiations than what the upper reaches of the Chinese government is talking about. I'm not sure anyone does. But I do still believe that the notion that the Tea party members of the House GOP caucus was such a powerful monolith and so intransigent that there was no way they could ever agree to anything was a tad overblown.

It makes sense that both sides would do that, for different reasons. But in the end, it's still likely that Boehner will be able to cobble together the votes he needs. Even the jihadist Club for Growth is merely saying that voting for the Boehner plan "could have consequences." It's not exactly a war cry. (And who knows? Some Democrats could even come over to make up the difference. Armageddon's on the line, after all.)

Obviously, when you elect a whole bunch of fanatics and fools to the congress all at once, you're going to have problems like this. But I suspect there's been a tremendous amount of "educational outreach" being done over the past few days to try to calm the confused and agitated Tea Partiers. I don't envy the teacher.

And while I hate to be cavalier about this powerful political faction, it's just possible that they are more of a political construct than a grassroots powerhouse on this issue.

Courtesy Dave Weigel, here's Louis Gohmert addressing today's "Hold The Line" tea party rally:



At this point, I guess we're all supposed to be rooting for it to fail so that everyone will be forced to rally around the Reid plan. At least that's what I hear. For some reason that doesn't sound like a plausible plan to me, but I guess we should hope for it anyway. I'm just not sure why anymore.



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