The Republican clown show continues.
If there was ever any doubt that the Republican Party is incapable of governing those doubts were put to rest last night as the party demonstrated a level of incompetence that left even their own members shaking their heads in disbelief.
Allow me to go back a few weeks to set the stage.
Three weeks ago Republicans were characterizing the situation on our southern border as the biggest moral and humanitarian crisis since 9/11. Republicans were crucifying the president for failing to find a solution to the problem; calling into question once again his leadership capabilities. The president’s decision to NOT visit the border only added fuel to the fire.
The president responded by proffering a $3.7 billion dollar bill to secure the border and streamline the deportation of those who had crossed illegally. Speaker Boehner rejected it out of hand and refused to bring it up in the House for a vote. The Senate had passed a similar $2.9 billion dollar solution months earlier which Boehner had also rejected. Fearful of returning to their districts for summer recess without addressing the problem, Boehner and Republican House leadership cobbled together a $1.5 billion solution. But the bill was quickly withdrawn when Boehner could not rally Tea Party members to support the measure.
Keep in mind that these are not comprehensive immigration reform bills that Republicans are rejecting. These are funding measures to enable the government to deport more people faster; something that the Republicans had been screaming for and a majority of the American people support.
As the August recess approached, the heat on Republicans to pass “something” before returning home had reached the boiling point. Boehner and the leadership drafted a watered down $659 million dollar measure. In an effort to woo the Tea Party bunch they even added a clause prohibiting the president from using his executive powers to amend or delay any immigration legislation. You may recall that the House had recently passed a resolution authorizing the Speaker to sue the president over his use of executive powers. The suit contends that the president uses his executive powers excessively in an effort to circumvent congress.
Confident that he had the votes to pass the bill; Boehner addressed the media. Once again he criticized the president for failing to secure the border and boldly stated that: “If the president won’t act congress will.” A few short hours later a blindsided Boehner was forced to pull his own bill when it became clear that he didn’t have the votes. It seems that while leadership was crafting the bill the Tea Party House members were meeting with Tea Party Senators Cruz and Sessions. Cruz and Sessions convinced them that it was better politically to do nothing and let the president shoulder the blame. The Tea Party caucus agreed and left Boehner hanging.
In a stunning scene…when Boehner announced that he was pulling the bill he and newly elected Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy were mobbed on the House floor by a furious moderate majority. They demanded that Boehner reconvene and find some way to craft and pass something; noting that going home to their constituents without something in hand would be disastrous. Boehner agreed and called his members back to renew the debate…some of whom had already left for the airport. They hope to pass someting...anything...this morning.
As if all of this weren’t ridiculous enough; Boehner issued a statement in the aftermath that only served to highlight the party’s incompetence. In his statement the Speaker said that the president had the power to act alone in addressing the border crisis and he encouraged the president to use the executive powers at his disposal to do so??? Remember, Boehner is currently suing this “imperialist” president for what Republicans believe is the president’s excessive use of executive powers. Now here the Speaker is encouraging the president invoke those very same powers?????
This entire comedy of errors was over a merely symbolic vote. Nothing the House passed was ever going to get by Harry Reid and the senate. Yet they still couldn’t find a way to get it done. Better to do nothing than pass something the people want.
So what have we learned?
We’ve learned that Republicans would rather do nothing than secure the border. They would rather do nothing than pass legislation that is generally popular with the American people.
We’ve learned that the Republicans can’t even come together to pass something they all agree on...a watered down bill that helps the government deport more people faster. If Republicans even can’t come to a legislative consensus on issues upon which they agree, then how can anyone expect them to govern if they secure both houses of congress this November?
We learned that Speaker Boehner is very bad at his job and that Ted Cruz has more influence over the Republican House Caucus than does Boehner.
We have also learned that the Republican Party is incapable of governing.
Republicans have given a weakened Democrat Party new life. If Democrats manage to renew their leadership in the Senate and/or win control of the House; Republicans can look at this as the day it all started slipping away.