ChrisWeigant.com

The Boehner And The Restless

[ Posted Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 – 16:07 PDT ]

The politico-media empire which writes the rules of the Washington "What Serious People Are Saying" game have apparently decided that the government shutdown is now melodramatically going to happen. Cue ominous organ music blast (dum Dum DUM!). The key word in that opening sentence is "melodramatically," because our government can now be seen as nothing more than a continuing soap opera. Call it "As The Boehner Turns," or perhaps more appropriately "The Boehner And The Restless."

Personally, I don't buy it. I'm taking the contrarian position on this one. John Boehner just announced that the House will vote on a continuing resolution (to continue funding the government past the first of October) which attempts to "defund" Obamacare, and that the vote will happen this Friday. Across Washington, in newsrooms everywhere, pearls were clutched and editors swooned (and had to be revived with smelling salts). The sky is falling! The shutdown will happen! Oh, my goodness! What a calamity! The melodrama was turned up to eleven, and the knob was then snapped off. The car was about to careen off the cliff (right before the commercial break), so stay tuned, folks....

But, as I said, I don't buy it. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the timing of the vote increases the chances that the government shutdown will not in fact happen. The vote, I suspect, is nothing more than John Boehner showboating within his own caucus -- nothing more than a sop to the rabid Tea Party members who are demanding this showdown. The reason I reach this conclusion is that if Boehner were truly serious about using this bill as his only negotiating position, he would have waited until the last minute to introduce it. Instead, he's going to hold a vote this Friday.

There are three basic endgames which are possible in the showdown. The first is that Senate Democrats and President Obama wake up one morning and, in astonishment, blurt out, "What were we thinking? Obamacare sucks! Let's repeal the signature legislation of Barack Obama's term in office!" They then leap out of bed, pass the House's bill and sign it into law. Obamacare is dead! Well, this isn't really true, since the House "defunding" Obamacare doesn't actually defund something like 80 percent of Obamacare, but whatever. The chances of this scenario happening are precisely zero, so it's a moot point.

The second endgame is that the House Republicans refuse to budge, the Senate and the House can't agree on a continuing resolution, and the government shuts down at the start of next month. This is what the media is salivating over, with full soundtrack and all the melodrama they can heap upon it. What a great start to the fall season for the soap opera that is Washington! The chances of this happening are unknown, but I predict that they are one whale of a lot smaller than the media would have you currently believe. And, as I said, holding the vote this Friday means the chances of a shutdown actually happening have just grown even smaller. If Boehner really wanted this scenario to happen (he's publicly said he does not, for the record), then he would use the clock to his advantage and delay the vote on the Tea Party bill until, perhaps, next Friday -- giving the Senate almost no time to react. But he's not taking this route, which is the main point everyone seems to be missing (or willfully ignoring, to boost ratings for the soap opera).

The third scenario is the most likely. John Boehner, following a script he has used in the past, allows the Tea Party to pillage and riot for a very precise amount of time. He allows their "take no prisoners" bill to be voted on. There is no guarantee that it'll even pass -- another fact many media types are ignoring today. Boehner has had to ignobly yank quite a few bills from the floor before the vote because he simply cannot round up enough votes within his own party to pass them. This could happen with Friday's bill, although it is more likely that Boehner will allow the vote even if he knows it will fail (because doing so will strengthen his position).

But say for the sake of conversation that it does pass. The Tea Party will triumphantly proclaim victory, and the Senate will quickly dispose of the bill in one fashion or another -- leaving us right back at square one. The Senate leaders will then meet with the White House and come up with a budget bill which is acceptable to sane Republicans in the Senate, but which does not touch Obamacare's funding. The Senate will pass this bill, and send it over to the House (technically the House has to originate spending bills, but this can be dealt with by a gimmick, as it always is). The ball will be back in Boehner's court.

Boehner has already cancelled vacation days scheduled for next week. The House will be in session. And it'll have enough time to act before the deadline is reached. Boehner will (again, he's done this before, folks) reluctantly tell his Tea Party members "well, we tried our hardest, but it didn't work." And then -- at the last minute, no doubt -- he'll put the Senate bill on the House floor for a vote, breaking the Republican "Hastert Rule" once again. Virtually all the Democrats will vote for it, and at least a few dozen Republicans will join them (those in such safe districts that they don't worry about Tea Party primary challenges, for the most part). The bill will pass. A few minor concessions may be wrung from the budget itself, as a sort of consolation prize for House Republicans ("See? We did get some sort of victory!"), and this tweaked bill will go back to the Senate for a vote. The Senate will pass it, and it will thus be placed upon Obama's desk for his signature. Obama, of course, will sign it.

The only real question in this scenario is how close we come to hitting the deadline. Maybe the government will temporarily "shut down" for a day or two as the last Senate vote happens, at worst. But some sort of budget will be in place, until the next time this budgetary plot device arises (which seems to be planned for December, just so we can all have a holiday special for the Washington soap opera).

Call me an optimist if you will, but this still seems the most-likely scenario. Boehner, by holding the big vote early, is signaling that there will be plenty of time to fix things at the last minute after he tosses the Tea Party their bone. The Tea Partiers will experience a few days of euphoria and then be consumed with white-hot rage when they don't ultimately get their way. Primary challenges will be threatened all around. Talk radio and the conservative echo chamber in the media will explode with angst and denunciation. But we will have a budget, and the government will not shut down.

Of course, being a soap opera, the next story arc in "The Boehner And The Restless" will be the stunning news (dum Dum DUM!) that the effort to defund Obamacare is not dead... but has only been in a coma! It will wake up and live all over again in a few weeks, when Congress is tasked with raising the debt ceiling. It's such a melodramatic storyline, after all, that it's going to be recycled for the entire 2013-2014 season. So join us here at this channel in a few weeks because in case you missed it we're going to replay the whole thing all over again throughout October. Join us for our next episode, and be sure to buy all those fine products our sponsors advertise, in the meantime!

[Roll closing credits, with "Nadia's Theme" playing in the background, of course...]

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

18 Comments on “The Boehner And The Restless”

  1. [1] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW- Once again, I think you've called this one exactly right.

    But, here's another possibility you might like to comment upon....will Boehner retire as speaker? The job can't be much fun, and I expect he'll face a primary challenger from the TP wing.

    Get into lobbying after a few years, brush up the old golf game. Oh, and spend more time with his family.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    The first is that Senate Democrats and President Obama wake up one morning and, in astonishment, blurt out, "What were we thinking? Obamacare sucks! Let's repeal the signature legislation of Barack Obama's term in office!"

    You mean they would actually wake up one morning and realize what the majority of Americans (as high as 75%!) have already realized??

    That they would wake up one morning and accept the reality that ObamaCare does suck??

    Yer right. That's simply impossible..

    Again, I have to ask..

    Despite ALL the evidence to the contrary, the cut in employee hours and pay, the lay off of workers, the sky high astronomical rate hike of the costs...

    Despite ALL of that, WHY do ya'all still think that ObamaCare is a GOOD thing???

    Besides the obvious reason that it has Obama's name on it, I mean...

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am also constrained to point out that your entire scenario depends on one unproven and unsupported conclusion.

    That the American people will hold Republicans and not the inept scandal-ridden Administration responsible..

    But here's food for thought..

    What if ya'all are wrong??

    "If I'm wrong, nothing happens! We go to jail, peacefully, quietly, we'll enjoy it! But if I am right... And we CAN stop this thing.... Lenny... YOU will have saved the lives of millions... of registered voters."
    -Peter Venkmen, GHOSTBUSTERS

    Just think about it. Think of the consequences to the Democratic Party and Obama's agenda if ya'all are wrong and the American people hold Obama and the Democrats accountable in 2014....

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/whats-wrong-with-barack-obama-96970.html?hp=t2_3

    And it's not just me who is wondering what the frak is going on....

  5. [5] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Morning all..

    Michael, the polling on Obama Care is complicated. It boils down to two conflicting little nuggets...responders tend to dislike Obama Care, but tend to like its individual elements.

    Obama lifted the whole idea from a Republican think tank. A prototype was implemented by a Republican Governor (I forget his name, and none of my Republican friends can recall it either), so it seems Republicans could actually support this Plan From Hell BO (Before Obama).

    The prototype has worked fairly well in MA, most people in MA are insured now, that was the primary intent. There have been no street riots, the economy has not collapsed. I was briefly there last spring myself, but called up some connections in MA just to make sure the lights were still on, and the fast food was flowing. They are, it is.

    Its reasonably popular in MA where people have had time to try it on, take it for a spin, etc. Of course, MA is well known to be a highly liberal socialist state, except by people who actually live there, or have relatives who live there. Michael, it's not all Haavaad. It's just Blue.

    Mandatory insurance is required in my home state. It's expensive, it's not subsidized. People still drive to work, including most of the folks making minimum wage at the big box stores and chain eateries. Where is the auto insurance rage? Is not the automobile more central to the American Way of Life than health care?

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    Auto Insurance is a state issue, not federal...

    Further, you are not being forced to buy auto insurance.. You only have to buy it if you drive... It's like getting sky-diving insurance. If you want to sky-dive, you have to get the insurance...

    Obamacare is a whole nother animal...

    You have to buy it simply because you exist.

    Auto Insurance is an If-You/Then-You requirement..

    Obamacare is You-Must-Period...

    It's comparing apples and orangutans....

    Moving on... Everyone who defends Obamacare ignores the facts...

    Employees are having their hours (hence their pay) cut because of Obamacare.

    Insurance rates are rising all over, some by as much as 300%!

    No one ever said that the middle class will get screwed if we pass Obamacare.

    Everything good about Obamacare has been proven wrong.

    Everything bad predicted about Obamacare has come to pass. Not being able to keep your doctor. Not being able to stay on your plan. Not even being able to have the hours to qualify for employer health plans...

    And ALL of this has come to pass even before it's official!!!

    I won't even bother mentioning that, if Obamacare is so good, why all the delays?? Why all the missed deadlines???

    What kind of chicken-shit outfit puts together this kind of plan w/ clue one how to implement it??

    "How do I get out of this chicken-shit outfit!??"
    -Cpl Hudson, ALIENS

    Even Warren Buffett says to scrap Obamacare and start over!!

    And Buffett is Obama's bestest bud....

    Obama and Democrats would do themselves a world of favor if they would jump on Buffett's bandwagon....

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    What kind of chicken-shit outfit puts together this kind of plan w/ clue one how to implement it??

    Of course, that SHOULD read "w/OUT clue one..." ...

    My brain had already jumped ahead to the movie quote.. :D

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505267_162-57595225/cbs-news-poll-finds-more-americans-than-ever-want-obamacare-repealed/

    Look at the polls.. I know ya'all love to when the polls say what you want...

    More Americans are against Obamacare than ever before...

    So, if Obama and the Democrats choose Obamacare over a working government, how is it that Republicans will be blamed???

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Finally, riddle me this.....

    If Obamacare is so good for Americans, why are CongressCritters and their entire staffs exempt from it???

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Which system is more like government-run socialized healthcare, the system Congress has or Obamacare?

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Which system is more like government-run socialized healthcare, the system Congress has or Obamacare?

    Beats me.. :D

    All I know is that if Obamacare is so bad that CongressCritters, their families and their staffs have to get a special exemption FROM it then why should Joe and Jane Sixpack have to suffer with it??

    If corporate interests need to obtain special (and illegal) delays from Obamacare, why should Joe and Jane SixPack not receive the same delay??

    No one wants to address these FACTS over Obamacare because they are only explainable by one supported conclusion.

    Obamacare sucks...

    If Obama Bestest Business Bud, Warren Buffett wants to repeal Obamacare and start over, shouldn't that tell ya'all something??

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know I should wait for tomorrow for this, but this just chaps my ass...

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/09/19/spitting-on-their-graves-democrats-leave-benghazi-hearing-before-testimony-from-benghazi-families-n1704732

    This is why I dislike Democrats so intensely... Not a shred of decency in any of them...

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Did Joe and Jane Sixpack have health insurance before Obamacare and, if not, why not?

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Beats me.. :D

    No, I don't think it does, actually ...

  15. [15] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Well, well, early this am, Boehner got his TP challenger. Eric Gurr, business man, computer consultant, Hamilton, Ohio. Political neophyte, no hits on Google, but there is a shiny new web site.

    More challengers to follow?

  16. [16] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Michael:

    A substantial subset of the US population will be exempt from mandated coverage.

    In that context, your phrase "just because you exist" can be more clearly understood as "applies to everybody who meets certain criteria."

    That's nothing new, just a basic principle of law.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz

    Did Joe and Jane Sixpack have health insurance before Obamacare and, if not, why not?

    Of course they did. And they really liked it and their doctor

    But now, because of Obamacare, not only do they don't get to stay on their insurances, not only do they not get to keep their doctor (OC forced him out of business) they can't even afford the new plan they are forced into because of skyrocketing premiums..

    So, I ask again.

    What's to like about Obamacare???

    TS,

    A substantial subset of the US population will be exempt from mandated coverage.

    Yea, I already know. CongressCritters, their families and their staff. Plus Dem political donors..

    That's part of the problem..

    In that context, your phrase "just because you exist" can be more clearly understood as "applies to everybody who meets certain criteria."

    That's one of the reasons that Obamacare sucks..

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yea, I already know. CongressCritters, their families and their staff. Plus Dem political donors..

    I remind you that Obama and his cronies worked real REAL hard to get Unions exempt from Obamacare..

    But I guess they realized what a bonehead move that would, considering all the other bonehead moves they had made...

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