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The New Old World

The New Old World

By Perry Anderson

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Ear to the Ground

One Explanation for GOP Civil War: House Republicans Are Used to Power

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Posted on Sep 15, 2013
Office of House Speaker John Boehner/Bryant Avondoglio

Visitors tour the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

Pity John Boehner. On one side of his caucus, he has tea party activists who almost managed to fire him as speaker. Now other House Republicans are reportedly furious that Boehner has allowed their tea party colleagues to hijack the agenda.

The issue front and center is Obamacare, and threats to shut down the government in an effort to defund the health program.

Tea party Republicans may be hard to control because they have genuine ideological commitments, or it could be their relative inexperience. As an article in The Hill about the Republican civil war notes, more than half of John Boehner’s 233 members have never been in the minority. As such, they don’t know how frustrating and powerless life in the House can be, and, consequently, they may be willing to risk descent into the minority to stand by their principles.

There’s a lot Senate minorities can do. Senators can place holds on legislation or they can join filibusters to stall or advance an agenda. And there are simply fewer of them. Life in the House, on the other hand, can feel like someone with a comment at a small town meeting.

There’s something to be said for standing on principle, whatever it may be, in the people’s House. But if Republicans can’t come to terms with their own intra-party crisis, the whole country could suffer as a result.

Sources: The Hill, PoliticalWire

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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