Fascinating interview: WaPo and National Review

Ezra Klein today in his Wonkblog:

Robert Costa is the National Review’s Washington editor and one of the best-sourced reporters among House Republicans. Like many others, I’ve relied on his reporting in recent days about how House Republicans are strategizing around the government shutdown. But it left me with some questions, particularly around Speaker John Boehner’s strategy. We spoke by phone this afternoon, and a lightly edited transcript follows.

I found the interview informative. Here’s a small outtake:

EK: But why isn’t it [a clean resolution or a “CR”] an option? A few dozen unhappy members is an annoyance, but how is it a threat? Wouldn’t Boehner be better off just facing them down and then moving on with his speakership?

RC: So there are 30 to 40 true hardliners. But there’s another group of maybe 50 to 60 members who are very much pressured by the hardliners. So he may have the votes on paper. But he’d create chaos. It’d be like fiscal cliff level chaos. You could make the argument that if he brought a clean CR to the floor he might have 100-plus with him on the idea. But could they stand firm when pressured by the 30 or 40 hardliners and the outside groups?

4 responses to “Fascinating interview: WaPo and National Review

  1. Yes, an interesting interview. I think one of the key things he didn’t cover very well is the bias-bubble around the hard-liners and the outside groups pushing them. It’s the same kind of bubble that made Mitt Romney think he was winning — right up to the very end. Conflicting information just could not penetrate.


  2. Clearly, the GOP is ideologically fractured and the single-issue holding them together, hatred of Obamacare, has a burning fuse on it. People who aren’t now covered will find out health insurance is a good thing, as they did with Medicare and SS, and there goes the issue. Hence the intransigence and the urgency.

    Still leaves me wondering what the root concern is, Moe. Is it ideology or is it more a matter of a “leadership” struggle, as in the job of the Speaker? Hmm, maybe that’s the same thing. What an interesting prospect: in 2016 I’m picturing Hillary facing Cruz and Rand Paul for VEEP. Yipes.


    • Jim, I wonder too about what they’re thinking (“The Intransigent Ones”). There are probably a few principled libertarians in the mix, but mostly it looks like the triumph of Rush Limbaugh, his legions of wanna-be’s and FOX News. They’ve created an alternate universe built largely around strawmen and an endless mantra of anit-liberalism and anti-government.

      Of course the GOP has been preaching and promising smaller government for many long decades but they’ve never even made a dent. Ironically the only recent administrations that did cut back were Clinton’s (Re-inventing Government) and Obama’s (but this time it’s not by choice so much).


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