When the leaders of the House are thwarted by unruly members – and I’m not talking about 2013
Ever since Plan B failed on the fiscal cliff in January and you saw Boehner in near tears in front of his conference, he’s been crippled. He’s been facing the consequences of that throughout the year. Everything from [the Violence Against Women Act] to the farm bill to the shutdown. The Boehner coup was unsuccessful but there were two dozen members talking about getting rid of him. That’s enough to cause problems. Boehner’s got the veterans and the committee chairs behind him, but the class of 2010 and 2012 doesn’t have much allegiance to him.
The thing that makes Boehner interesting is he’s very aware of his limited hand.
So those who claim that Boehner could solve the current fiscal crisis by bringing a clean continuing resolution to the floor are, in effect, asking Boehner to commit political suicide. And there’s nothing in it for him, unless he wants to earn a Profile in Courage award down the line – and it took Gerald Ford decades to earn his award.
Oh, these evil Republicans in the 21st century, bringing the government to gridlock by running wild. We didn’t see anything like that in previous years.
Uh, wrong, as Toby Moffett well knows.
When the “Watergate Babies,” the largest class of freshman Democrats ever elected to the U.S. House, arrived in late 1974, we wasted no time attacking the seniority system we had campaigned against.
We had the votes to throw out three powerful, veteran chairmen, fellow Democrats, whom we felt had stayed too long. We voted in younger and more reform-minded replacements. For the first time, long-standing chairmen, with “till-death-do-us-part” tenure, had to face a vote of “Yes” or “No” to keep their position.
And the Watergate Babies had their victory. But time passed.
For a time, it appeared that a new breed of politician would permanently rewrite the rules on Capitol Hill. Then the Watergate babies grew up. Today , many of them are powerful committee chairmen, such as Waxman, who heads the subcommittee on Health and Environment, and George Miller (D-Martinez), who chairs the Interior Committee, and Norman Y. Mineta (D-San Jose) of the Surface Transportation subcommittee.
These former Watergate babies now are the targets of frustrated citizens who seek to use term-limit initiatives to oust them from office and blame them for failing to solve the nation’s problems.
Indeed, some members of that class of 1974 proved to be every bit as conventional as their predecessors. Rep. Carroll Hubbard Jr. (D-Ky.), for example, elected president of his freshman congressional class and now chairman of the House Banking subcommittee on oversight and investigations, was recently defeated in the Kentucky Democratic primary after 17 years in Congress by voters who, among other things, objected to his close ties to the thrift industry.
And it should be noted that this article was written before the Republican Revolution of 1994…or the current Tea Party stalemate of 2013.