GOP’s War on Its Base Comes Back to Haunt It

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Washington, DC

After calling John Boehner’s admission that “there have been a couple of stumbles” in the new Congress a “dry understatement,” the establishment-friendly Washington Post goes on to note what most in the GOP base already know: the establishment GOP is less than impressive when it comes to governing.

According to The Washington Post:

What has happened since Republicans took full control of Congress three weeks ago has been less a stumble than a pratfall involving the legislative equivalent of a banana peel, flailing arms, an upended bookcase, torn drapes and a slide across a laden banquet table into a wedding cake.

On Monday, a rebellion by House conservatives forced Boehner to scuttle plans to pass border-security legislation — a topic on which Republicans had supposedly been unified.

Last week, a rebellion by Republican women caused Boehner to pull from the House floor a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. More than one House Republican has since complained about the “females” in the caucus.

The WaPo goes on to call them everything from chaotic to circus-like. While some will undoubtedly attempt to blame more conservative Republicans for the mess, the reality is this is what comes of going to war with your own base, as the GOP did in the recent midterm elections. Both House and Senate leaders declared war on their own base, with Boehner doubling down as recently as this weekend on national television, claiming that it’s only and always about the money when it comes to his critics.

What’s actually on display is the current GOP leadership’s divisiveness and inability to manage a broader party:

Chaos could be found around every corner of the Capitol on Tuesday morning: Boehner, after meeting with his House GOP caucus, explaining the failure of the border bill; Benghazi panel chairman Trey Gowdy promising, “We’re going to ratchet it up” and engage the administration in “formal legal proceedings”; and not much of anything happening on the Senate floor, where the pipeline debate had stalled.

The Dirksen Senate Office Building became a legislative three-ring circus Tuesday. On the ground floor met the Armed Services Committee, divided over whether to authorize the use of ground troops in Syria and Iraq. On the fifth floor, Democrats on the Banking Committee withdrew their support for rapid passage of an Iran sanctions bill — fallout from Boehner’s Netanyahu gambit. And, on the second floor, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) faced down hecklers.