Friday, July 29, 2011

No Vote

After a day of herding cats on crack, House Speaker John Boehner cancelled the meaningless vote on his DOA debt ceiling plan.

The vote had been scheduled for around 6 p.m. Thursday, but as that hour neared, GOP leaders realized they didn’t have the 217 votes needed to send the measure on to the Senate.

So the House suddenly took up a series of non-controversial measures, leaving befuddled lawmakers debating whether to rename a post office in Hawaii before finally going into recess for an indefinite time.

According to Steve Benen, the reason the vote is falling short is because a lot of the Tea Party folks think the plan Mr. Boehner is offering is too liberal.

Apparently, several far-right House Republicans believe Boehner’s plan is too generous when it comes to Pell Grants. Helping low-income students go to college is, as they see it, “welfare,” and therefore makes his bill unacceptable.

While it’s all fun and games watching the little dramas going on on Capitol Hill and collecting points for spotting tell-tale signs of life (“Look! They ordered pizza with extra pepperoni! That means something!”), what is being lost is the fact that there is still a looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling and prevent the rest of the world from thinking that the full faith and credit of the United States can be undermined by a bunch of right-wing whackos whose understanding of economic theory never got beyond “2+2=?” (But then, what can you expect from a party where a lot of their members believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and started out with two naked people and a talking snake.)

If it’s possible to feel sorry for John Boehner, I suppose you could sympathize with his way-too-late realization that he’s been run over by the Klown Kar, and if he fails to deliver on this vote, his tenure as House Speaker is pretty much over. But that’s cold comfort in light of the real possibility that in less than a week we could be facing an economic crisis that is not only completely preventable but was created on purpose by a small number of people with big mouths who are doing it just to try to bring down a president that they hate.

This isn’t new. They brought the government to screeching halt in 1998 in order to put Bill Clinton through impeachment for getting a blow job, and Newt Gingrich shut down the government in 1995 because he had to fly coach on Air Force One. So the question arises: who is at fault? The right-wing nutsery for being way out there, or the rest of us for not only putting up with it, but enabling them. They can’t help it if they’re lunatics, but the rest of us bear the burden of their damage by letting them run loose in the halls of Congress.