Yet another installment from the Republican’s civil war.
The disagreements among Republicans surfaced as negotiations on a deficit reduction plan designed to supplant and avert the automatic cuts and tax hikes got more serious, with both parties having presented opening offers.
Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolinian with a following among small-government conservatives, lashed out at an offer sent on Monday to Obama by Boehner, a fellow Republican.
“Speaker Boehner’s $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more,” DeMint said in a statement.
In the House of Representatives, two first-term Republican Tea Party stalwarts – Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan – were removed by party leadership from the powerful budget committee in what Huelskamp called “a vindictive move.”
The Republican leadership offered no immediate explanation for the unusual action, but Boehner has had problems bringing in line the large Tea Party wing in the House. Elected to Congress in force in 2010, they regard the speaker as too much of a compromiser and tied his hands during talks in 2011 on raising the debt ceiling.
“The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions,” said Huelskamp.
They’ve all seen the polling that says if the Austerity Bomb negotiations fail, most people will blame Republicans – it’s just that some are too principled in their wingnuttery or too dumb to care. I’m having difficulty seeing a downside to this for those who will be hurt most by the Austerity Bomb in whatever form it eventually happens. Either Boehner will beat his rebels and thus the GOP will make a few more concessions than they would otherwise – or the ideologically zealous will win the day and the GOP will get even more blame as we head into a future in which they become less the second big party and more an irrelevant and anachronistic appendage to politics – a political appendix made up of grumpy old white men. Pass the popcorn.