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By Ernest A. Canning
on 1/5/2013, 2:07pm PT
"I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me." – Former FL Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, 9/6/2012
"Anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined." - Rep. Peter King (R-NY), 1/2/2013.
In the wake of the Jan. 1, 2013 decision by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to postpone a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief until after the 113th Congress was sworn in, NY Rep. Peter King's sense of betrayal, which he described as "a knife in the back" in a remarkable floor speech, is understandable, but his proposed remedy is woefully deficient.
The only way that Republicans in an entire region of the country --- the Northeast --- can achieve meaningful representation in the 113th Congress may be by way of a massive party switch. The increasingly rare breed of "moderate House Republicans" may soon only be left with the choice of emulating the late Sen. Arlen Specter's 2009 party switch, by either becoming Democrats or by becoming independents who will caucus with the Democrats.
Of course, that didn't work out terribly well for Specter either...
Under Boehner's leadership, the U.S. House generally acts (the so-called "fiscal cliff" bill not withstanding) under what's known as the Hastert Rule --- named after former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) --- in which the Speaker will not allow a measure to come to a vote unless it is supported by a "majority of the majority" which, as of now, is still the Republican Caucus.
Six of the ten Northeast States (VT, ME, MA, RI, CT, and NH) did not elect a single House Republican in 2012. Only one of Maryland's eight representatives is a Republican. New York elected 27 members of the House --- only six are Republicans. New Jersey's twelve member House delegation is evenly divided, six Republicans and six Democrats. Pennsylvania is the only state in the entire region which, thanks to gerrymandering, features a Republican majority, 13-5, in the U.S. House.
That math presents an ever tightening noose, and a test of character for GOP members from the Northeast.
Political analysts have understood for some time that the threat of a billionaire-funded "Tea Party" primary has forced moderate Republicans to choose between their principles and political survival. But the abrupt postponement of the Sandy relief measure on the final day of the 112th Congress underscored that the divisions within the GOP entail not only differences between a dwindling number of moderates and "Tea Party" radicals, but stark regional differences as well.
Just as Sandy proved a test of character for Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), so too the postponement of Sandy relief --- and ultimate passage of a vastly scaled-back relief package on the first day of the 113th Congress --- now presents a test of character both for Northeast Republicans and those GOPers who placed nation before party in voting to approve the "fiscal cliff" deal.
Either moderate and Northeast Republicans abandon all sense of principle, and the health of their own communities, by caving to the radical elements which have overtaken their party, or they follow the dictates of conscience and the practical realization that the only sure way to evade a "Tea Party" primary is by switching parties.
If, nationwide, 17 moderate Republicans made the switch, Democrats would regain the majority and sanity might be restored.
But, of course, those who switch from R to D, or even R to I, may find themselves pushed out of Congress all together nonetheless, just as Specter was.
Either way, there are difficult days ahead for the dwindling GOP moderates and Northeast Republican caucus, as they find themselves increasingly in a minority of the majority...
* * *
Video of Rep. Peter King's 1/2/2013 denunciation of Speaker Boehner's postponement of vote on Hurricane Sandy relief follows...
* * *Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @Cann4ing.
Reader comments follow below ad...
READER COMMENTS ON
"End of Days for Northeast Republicans?"
(9 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 1/5/2013 @ 3:08 pm PT...
as amusing as it is to watch the republicans implode, it is much more distressing to witness the continued takedown of our economy by throwing yet MORE money at the banks rather than halting the unconscionable foreclosres and dealing with our failing infrastructure. We have lost our governmental oversite (congress is about to defund the Office of Congressional Ethics) and oh yeah, there's the small matter of disintegrating nuclear 'power' plants all over the globe. Fukushima is one tsunami or earthquake away from GAME OVER.
So, yeah, let's witness the end of the Republithugs. Me? I'm just trying to savor what seem to be the last sweet moments on our dear. Beautiful Mother Earth.
A species so determined to ignore the true perils fcing us give ostriches a good name, nay, a badge of honor. They, at least, are not committed to committing mass suicide.
Thank you again, Uncle Ernie, for another of your erudite examinations of the way things are. Meanwhile, I spend my time in gratitude and prayer for the living Earth who gives us life and breath.
What else is there to do? Heck if I know...
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 1/6/2013 @ 12:59 am PT...
Establishment GOP and their outside groups appear to be oiling up their machines to offer House GOP a 3rd way. PACs like Crossroad GPS and LaTourette's group will be getting involved really early in the 2014 cycle to provide cover for House members willing to compromise:
On one hand, if the establishment GOP wins that battle (a big IF) it could mean more moderate House members and the end of the teanuts. OTOH, more moderate GOP candidates would mean less success for Democrats in Senate elections.
The other thing is that LaTourette's new PAC (and Crossroads involvement) to protect House members willing to compromise could pay dividends during THIS congress. OTOH, members too intimidated by the teanuts will likely remain recalcitrant until it's demonstrated these new PACs can indeed provide them cover against their right flanks.
Seeing as to how these are the totally safe districts for the GOP whose candidate faces no real opponent in the general the real battle happens in the primaries so it's hard to see how a Democratic candidate has a chance. If candidates in these types of districts switched parties they would get slaughtered in the general from whoever comes out of the primaries as the republican candidate. The Dems have to continue their good job running interference in Senate GOP primaries in getting the teanut candidate the nomination, while hoping the establishment candidate wins in House primaries.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 1/6/2013 @ 4:27 am PT...
King voted against Katrina aid. Life's a bitch.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 1/6/2013 @ 1:18 pm PT...
King voted against Katrina aid. Life's a bitch.
From the government's own web site:
Steve King (Iowa) NAY, September 2005. Peter King (NY) YEA.
Karma's a bitch, too, especially if you intended to mislead.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 1/6/2013 @ 6:29 pm PT...
Mr. Ed raises a point that has been in the back of my mind recently: when the Republicans held disaster aid up before, because they wanted to cut other spending, what did Peter King, Chris Christie and the other Republicans who are now so upset do? I don't remember any Republicans saying it was unconscionable to do that, but I could be completely wrong.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 1/7/2013 @ 4:25 am PT...
Chris Christie is a giant jackass to whine about a cruel and indifferent Congress, after slashing state education and aid to desperate cities like Camden in 2011.
Christie just used LINE ITEM VETO to do exactly what Scott Walker did.
No raging debates in the Capitol.
No huge protests.
Just thousands of seething educators after he HID IN HIS OFFICE and CUT CUT CUT.
Christie is a big coward.
Outrage boils over Christie’s line-item veto cuts
July 5th, 2011 | by NJPP Staff
By Jarrett Renshaw
It didn’t take long for the outrage to bubble over.
From around the state, lawmakers, child advocates, mayors and college officials expressed anger and disappointment Friday over Gov. Chris Christie’s liberal use of the line-item veto on the budget enacted by the Democratic Legislature.
Christie slashed almost a billion dollars from the Democrats’ $30.6 billion budget that had restored spending for education, health care and tax credits for the working poor, aid to the state’s struggling cities and – in what was widely viewed as revenge for spurning his own budget – cuts to the Legislature.
The governor then signed the budget he had trimmed to $29.7 billion before the fiscal year ended at midnight Thursday, and Democratic hopes of overriding his veto are seemingly slim.
“New Jersey should be working harder to protect children from abuse and neglect, not pulling the plug on programs that work for children,” said Nancy Erika Smith of the Newark-based Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center, which helps sexually and physically abused children.
Christie cut $537,000, or 75 percent, of the center’s financing, which Smith called “DISGUSTING.”
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 1/7/2013 @ 7:15 am PT...
Hello Ernest A. Canning,
As someone whom resides in Peter King's district I wouldn't mind his retirement even if it becomes a teatard looney bin member taking his place. Overall he has been a net negative for his district. On the minor thing his office does provide services to regular people but on anything major he supports business and the super wealthy. His real story is pretty dark and sometimes so much like a black hole (buried). The sooner the Rethugs show their true colors the sooner the general population will be forced to deal with the situation. Unfortunately this could take a generation or more from now due to cognitive dissidence in his and other congressional districts on Long Island.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 1/7/2013 @ 2:27 pm PT...
Thanks for this one Ernie, it will help me in an arduous task to find the source ... of these sorts.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 1/9/2013 @ 7:04 am PT...
I'm sure most of us here know individuals that exhibit self destructive behavior. There's many reasons for it e.g an unwillingness to grow-up, resistance to needed change, ignorance, a fundamental knowledge that what they're doing is wrong, etc. But instead of making the mental adjustments needed to survive in a changing world, self destructive people will often, as a result of anger and fear, "double-down" on their negative behavior in defiance of reality.
Groups of people can act the same way as individuals as is the case with the GOP. There is no other way to explain the political survival of people like Bachmann, Cantor, McConnell, Norquist, Santorum etc, as well as the entire TParty. These people represent a kind of collective conservative schizophrenia that the GOP is suffering from. Ripped between fear of change and the recognition that change is necessary the GOP is exhibiting a split personality. Hence moderates like Christie and King are pealing off for survivals sake. When all the "moderates" in the party have been purged the GOP will continue it's downward spiral by attacking those in the party who are less hard right than the hardest right. This trend will continue until them split themselves into irrelevance i.e. political suicide. Good.
In a case like this it is wise to adhere to the words of Napoleon Bonaparte: "Don't interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake."
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