Cantor told me that it was a "fair assessment" that he talked Boehner out of accepting Obama's deal. He said he told Boehner that it would be better, instead, to take the issues of taxes and spending to the voters and "have it out" with the Democrats in the election. Why give Obama an enormous political victory, and potentially help him win re-election, when they might be able to negotiate a more favorable deal with a new Republican President? Boehner told Obama there was no deal. Instead of a Grand Bargain, Cantor and the House Republicans made a grand bet.The fact that the plan consisted of total obstruction - hoping that would give them a win in 2012 - comes as no surprise to much of anyone who was actually paying attention. And yes, it "failed spectacularly."
The bet failed spectacularly.
We now can begin to see the outlines of Plan B. It happened over the so-called "fiscal cliff" and raising the debt ceiling. And if TPM reporting is accurate, its about to happen over the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
The original plan was for the Republican majority in the House to pass its version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and then go to conference conference committee with the Senate. The Senate has already overwhelmingly passed a more aggressive bill, with protections for LGBT, Native American and undocumented women that have been at the heart of the dispute with House Republicans.So Plan B basically comes down to letting the lunatics in their caucus have their tantrum...and then caving. The truth is that as loud as the lunatics are, they don't have a majority in the House. Despite partisan lines, the majority is now held by a coalition of Democrats and sane Republicans. Nothing is going to pass the House without that coalition's support. And so we should all hold a funeral service for the Hastert Rule.
But all that changed Tuesday night. The Rules Committee instead sent the House GOP’s version of the Violence Against Women Act to the floor with a key caveat: if that legislation fails, then the Senate-passed version will get an up-or-down vote.
The big admission implicit in this latest move is that House GOP leaders don’t believe they have the votes to pass their version of the bill but that the Senate version is likely to pass the chamber. So this way they’ll give House conservatives the first bite at the apple as a way of saving face and still resolve an issue that has hurt them politically.
When we apply Plan B to the sequester, we can see that what Speaker Boehner is doing right now is letting the lunatics have their tantrum. The question - as Jonathan Chait points out - is "then what?"
At this point, the question becomes what kind of peace they try to get. Do they try to replace sequestration by taking a version of Obama’s tax-deductions-for-entitlement-cuts offer? Or do they just try to get rid of sequestration and pretend to replace it, but come up with some kind of phony mechanism — future longer-term cuts, commissions, vague formulas — in an attempt to save the Pentagon budget without making the richies cough up any more taxes?Right now I'd put my money on the latter.