Days of Change

Playing with Firing | June 24, 2015

The story has gone down that Republicans who voted against trade authorization supported by the leadership will lose their own chairmanship or committee assignments in the House. This is part of John Boehner’s continuing war on independent thought for votes that he believes need party unity. By chopping off heads, certain grandstanding Republicans will learn there is s price for voting against the majority just to look like an iconoclast.

Here’s the danger. As a Congressman, you are hired by the people in your district. Being on committees is great. It gives you the power to make changes to laws that benefit your district and raises your profile. If you want to stay in Congress, that is the kind of reward you need. It’s an incentive to follow the party, sometimes at the cost of your personal beliefs. Boehner is betting on these errant Republicans to be corrupt enough to fear the disfavor of their leadership.

If you look at the titles of people in Congress, you see the designation “majority” or “minority.” This is because the Constitution doesn’t respect parties. The leadership of a particular group is based on a simple majority vote at the beginning of a session. The winners are in the majority, the losers are in the minority. In the recent past, Republicans were burned by freezing out moderate to liberal Republicans because they would defect to the Democrats. This is how Republicans lost the Senate in 2001 when Jim Jeffords switched sides. It’s also how Democrats got a 60 seat majority when Arlen Spector wend back to being a Democrats after decades as a Republican.

A conservative Republican is seen as having nowhere to go. The Tea Party hates Obama slightly more than Boehner. It would certainly teach him a lesson if conservatives pulled a coup and voted for Nancy Pelosi, but her leadership would be a nightmare. It is also quickly becoming the only option open to them. John Boehner cannot fire fellow Republicans, only demote them. How long until he plays with firing too much?


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  1. Boehner could cost his party the WH….and wouldn’t seem to care. He’s no more conservative than he is clairvoyant.

    Comment by 49erDweet — June 24, 2015 @ 11:32 pm

  2. Punishing dissenters by “firing ” them, assigning them undesirable office locations, etc., is how Pelousy rammed obamacare through the House. The mo things change….

    Comment by Mary — June 25, 2015 @ 1:10 am

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