So it strikes me that Eric Cantor is making his move. Up until now he’s tried to appear the loyal deputy. But now he’s leading the charge against Boehner.
Boehner committed to allow a vote on the Senate bill, but that commitment probably meant breaking the Hastert rule. Now Boehner is really in a hard spot. If he allows a vote as he promised, he may well in trouble in his re-election as Speaker. Bear in mind, all it would take to block him is 33 GOP abstentions.
If he blocks a vote or only allows a vote on an amended bill, he kills the deal and the GOP suffers huge damage in public opinion polling. It’s very possible that Boehner is already damaged beyond repair.
So what would Speaker Cantor mean? It would mean even more outrageousness from the House GOP over the next two years than we’ve seen in the last two. Now, that might be a good thing. Normally in a mid-term, especially a second term mid-term, the Party holding the White House loses seats in the House.
But if there was anything that could work against that it might actually be a Speaker Cantor. Two years of watching Cantor allow the Tea Party full free reign might be exactly what is required to turn past history on its head and allow the Democrats to regain the majority in 2014. Boehner whatever else you might think of him (and I'm no fan) has tried to keep the Tea Party members in check at least to some degree. Cantor would not.
As I watch and listen to all wailing about “bad negotiating” I wonder if some people have missed the point of all this. If I can think through these possibilities, there is no doubt in my mind that there are people in the White House who can do the same.
If the end result of what has happened in the last few days is the House blows up the deal and we get Speaker Cantor, that could actually be a win in a substantial way.
And in the end, the GOP is going to have a very hard time voting against tax cuts when they get presented with a bill that does just that next week.