To fully appreciate the strategic miscalculation House GOP Leadership made last night, consider this: rank-and-file Republicans were being asked to vote to increase tax rates for a deal that had no chance of passing. Obama had promised to veto the deal but, beyond that, Sen. Reid had already said that Boehner’s “Plan B” had no chance of passing the Senate. In other words, Republicans were being asked to compromise on a core principle and permanently tarnish their voting record for a deal that was going nowhere.
Sources on Capitol Hill have told Breitbart News that opposition to Boehner’s “Plan B” went far beyond the caucus’ more conservative members. Around 19 or 20 Democrats would likely have voted for Boehner’s bill, suggesting opposition to the proposal ran deep into the GOP caucus. “How can you ask Republicans to vote for higher taxes on a deal that was already dead. Why would they do that?,” a source told Breitbart News.
The House GOP Leadership, led by Reps. Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy, wanted the conference to vote for a deal that they thought would strengthen their hand in negotiations with the White House. But, they failed to appreciate that each of these members have their own constituencies. They have their own voters to whom they are accountable. Even the more moderate members of the caucus were not willing to go on record hiking tax rates for no purpose.
“If this were a final deal, ironed out with the White House and Democrats, it would have passed” a source told Breitbart News. But, the members were not going to fall on their swords for a “symbolic” vote to, at best, give Leadership a bit more leverage in negotiations.
The triumvirate leading the GOP in the House forgot they lead a caucus, made up of individual members from across the country. They got a messy reminder of that last night.