“The Collapse of Republican Institutional Power”


Perhaps the most striking aspect of the government shutdown over a law that was passed in 2010 was that many Republican lawmakers — including most likely House Speaker John Boehner — did not want it. Boehner is not an ideological bomb-thrower in the mold of Newt Gingrich, gleefully leading his troops into battle. It’s been clear all along that he is enabling the antics of the hard-right faction of his caucus somewhat reluctantly.

And some Republicans, like congressman Peter King of Long Island, have been very open with their frustrations. King, who calls the hard-liners in his caucus “crazies”,  has said publicly that if Boehner had allowed members to vote their consciences, there would have been a sufficient number of Republicans who would have voted with the Democratic minority to continue to fund government operations and avert the shutdown.

But Boehner chose not to, and so here we are.

The question is why? How did it come to the point where one faction is calling the shots over the rest?

Why can’t he summon some inner Frank Underwood.

This discussion between the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and Robert Costa of the National Review does a good job of laying out the power dynamics within the Republican caucus and Boehner’s personal motives.

Here’s one exchange on the institutional changes that have contributed to a situation where the U.S. Congress lurching from one crisis to another:

EK: How much of this is a Boehner problem and how much of this is a House Republicans problem? Which is to say, if Boehner decided to retire tomorrow, is there another House Republican who has enough trust and allegiance in the conference that he or she could manage the institution more effectively? 

RC: What we’re seeing is the collapse of institutional Republican power. It’s not so much about Boehner. It’s things like the end of earmarks. They move away from Tom DeLay and they think they’re improving the House, but now they have nothing to offer their members. The outside groups don’t always move votes directly but they create an atmosphere of fear among the members. And so many of these members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and tea party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible. Leaders are dealing with these expectations that wouldn’t exist in a normal environment.

The whole thing is worth reading.


“The Collapse of Republican Institutional Power”

  1. Lucky us. We have a ringside seat to watch The Fall of the Roman Empire….Part 2: May the Farce be with you.

    • Yes, because Rome’s neighbours did quite well for themselves the first time the Empire collapsed.

      • This is the second time Rome has fallen….the one that’s farce.

        • Roman Empire was never conquered, it died from economic rot, fraud of money as they went form gold, then to silver, then to copper, then tin, and then wood chips.

          As the basis for fair money died, so did the economy as producers and productive people were not getting enough value, and the consumption of government and academic bloat consumed too much wealth.

          History repeats for people who do not study it. Too stupid and too arrogant to see the truths of today. Seeing 2008 in pragmatic realism, made me money where others took a bath. And I am setup for a repeat as they haven’t learned anything yet other than more belligerent whine greed of others peoples money to destroy our kids and grand kids futures.

          Failure is the destiny of USA/Canada/Europe unless they go to “pay as you go” for all governments and ignore the debt greedy.

          • Rome fell in 476. It was conquered.

            I’m afraid you can’t rewrite history to suit your bizarre economic theories.

      • Yep, just like today with Chinas 7% growing economy and stable currency. As China doesn’t print fraud money for debt. In fact, China government is balances when you factor in their government debt is offset by larger assets.

        As if you look outside of J CU PIIIGGGS in debt countries and their failing currencies of debt, many are doing quite well like the Roman Empires neighbors did on the fail of the Roman Empire.

        This way corrupt bankers and corrupt government are not passing on the costs of debt. And debt is never “free”, its just a mater of who and how it is paid for.

        Its why are incomes are in fiat money, it is fraud money as it is guaranteed to be less value tomorrow than today. Why would I pay real value for labors if I can pass devaluing money? This is the new economy of debt.

  2. With sequestration and the continuing resolution that the Democrats
    are prepared to accept, the Republicans have already got everything
    they really want. The Obamacare kerfuffle is just a bonus.
    And Ted Cruz .. last seen slouching toward Fort Sumter with FreedomWorks
    bucks tumbling out of his pockets.

  3. Perhaps the Tea Party members could explain, since they are so fond of mentioning “THE Constitution” what process for dispute resolution they would prefer to having issues decided and enacted with elections, Congressional votes and Supreme Court rulings? Whoever hollers the most? Gets on Fox News more often?

    • Its more simple. Tea Party doesnt’ see any morality or ethics in “just more debt” on kids and grand kids for today bailout and entitlement greed.

      Not everyone has been blinded by debt greed and sold their souls for “In Debt We Trust!”.

      Fact is this government print money for perpetual debt caused this economic mess. It wasn’t home owners, that was liberla blame deflection. What cause the depression is liberal governemtn debt and greed of fraud low interest rates and it caused the credit crisis and market failure, job losses and the like.

      But hey, like a heroin addict, just one more debt fix that kills your economic health.

  4. I knew that things were bad for the Republicans, but WOW.

    If PETER KING is the reasonable guy in your caucus who’s trying to reign in “the crazies” then you’ve truly jumped the shark!

    ETA: OMG! In the comments section of that article people are calling Peter King (PETER KING!!!) a RINO, and suggesting that he should just leave the Republicans and join the Democrats. PETER FREAKIN’ KING!!!!

    We’re through the looking glass here people!

    • Peter King?? He’s a moderate.

      The nutbar-in-chief is Ted Cruz. He’s a Dominionist.

      AND he’s Canadian

      • Peter King .. an IRA fund-raiser and apologist.
        And a complete and utter flake who would be
        quite happy with the effects of a shutdown if it
        didn’t hamper his defense contractor buddies.

        • And a moderate

          • He’s a hawk.

      • I suppose Peter King may well be considered a “moderate Republican” now, but my point is that if that’s true it’s a sign of just how crazy the party has become.

        This is the guy, let us not forget, who supported the Provisional IRA. The guy who said that “80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists” and that this constituted “an enemy living among us”, and, bluntly, that “there are too many mosques in this country”. He also thought that Wikileaks should be designated a terrorist organization, and treated as such by the American government.

        My point is simply that it’s shocking to me that we’ve come to the point where John Boehner and Peter King are considered the reasonable Republicans, and even more so that PETER KING is trying to get Boehner to reign in the “crazies”.

        • Peter King is a normal Repub today….lots of people in the US donated to the provisional IRA….there were even jars sitting on the bar in Irish pubs….it’s how the IRA survived so long. The anti-Muslim nonsense is pretty standard fare these days. Same with the rest of it. He’s considered a moderate.

          The genuine Repubs have left the party….they lost some good candiates last election because those people refused to be part of the anti-intellectual, pro-fundie movement that has taken over.

          Senator Ted Cruz is one of the ‘crazies’….chief crazy at the moment in fact. He’s a Christian Dominionist…a Reconstructionist. They follow Mosaic Law….the law laid out in the old Testament. It condones slavery, and promotes stoning….even of your own children. Sharia law is fairly tame in comparison.

          And so is Peter King.

  5. I find this all absolutely fascinating. A President with an approval rating below 50% who’s accused of not having much power/sway stacked up against a Congress with an approval rating below 20% and a House Speaker who seems to have completely lost control of his own caucus.

    This could lurch from entertaining to terrifying pdq.

  6. Its not this complex.

    It about belligerent greed of getting grand kids debt futures for bailout greed today versus the ethical people wanting pay as you go.

    It is that simple. But the left has so many excuses why they need “just more debt” on the grand kids yet like heroin, the fix is the cause of health problems.

    Excessive government debt caused this depression and just to many stupid people don’t realize it as they are blinded by the greed of “just more debt”. And this has no good ending. And why I don’t invest in J CU PIIIGGGS coutnries any more, as like Greece, no value for anyone in “just more debt”.

    The real hostage is the futures of ethical working people, being forced into debt-tax slavery by the debt greedy today.

  7. “The Collapse of Republican Institutional Power”

    Agreed, but you can expand that to the USA as a whole and correct the title to read:

    “The Collapse of USA Institutional Power”

    As in the end, be you a democrat or a republican, there is no good end in mortgaging the kids, grand kids futures for debt greed and currency fraud today. As USA is being devalued for debt, and and has a bleak economic future because of debt. This depression was started by governemtn debt in 2006. The results have been 2007 credit crisis and unemployment with a 2008 crash.

    For savvy investors, we saw it coming. For dreamers, leftists, inattentive, and debtors, they lost in 2008 while pragmatists won.

    Can we have the debtors cause another 2008 crash? Would love a second kick at making money like that. Buy on dips and sell on highs has its rewards. Current position is high in cash waiting for the fallout. As either way, USA is going down for debt greedy. They can’t pay their bills without Bernanke electronic counterfeit that dilutes the currency for less value money!


    Lets ignore reality, “just more debt” please, as you can make money on failure.

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