As predicted here at the blog Speaker Boehner could not corral the votes in the Republican caucus to pass his own so called “Plan B”.I posted on this blog and through my twitter feed the prediction that the Speaker would not secure the votes from Republicans on this bill, and I was (for once) right. My confusion, even in light of my prediction, is how the Speaker’s whip operation came up with a bad vote count??? When Majority Leader Cantor announced yesterday afternoon that the votes were there for the Speaker’s plan I was not totally convinced, but I thought it unlikely that such an announcement would be made without a hard vote count. I can say with certainty that these guys ain’t LBJ, but to blow a count of this importance is either gross incompetence or an attempt to make the Speaker look bad. If I were the Speaker and the Whip put me out there like that he would have to be fired. Unfortunately for Boehner he is in a position to fire no one, and in fact has so lost control of the caucus that his own relevance is in question.
Leaders must lead, and for those saying (like John Boehner) that this deal should not be cut with just two people in the room that is just so much hooey. That is the only way a deal can get done that will help to solve some of the very real problems that will occur on December 31 without a deal. The deal was close, and Boehner blinked.
The Speaker has some very hard choices ahead. He was moving towards a deal, and was in essence derailed by his own caucus. Will he be willing to bring a deal forward that does not have a “majority of the majority”? Does he dare bring forward a compromise that must win with Democratic support? If he does will it cost him his Speaker’s gavel? The situation is a mess, but it could be extricated by some folks exercising real leadership. That is why I continue to handicap this as “go over the cliff” a strong favorite.