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Lowman Henry
Lowman Henry

Lincoln Blog

by Lowman S. Henry

A House Divided

January 02, 2013

Has the Republican Party ever had a more ineffective leader than John Boehner?

The answer is, yes, but he sure is a contender for the title.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to concur in a Senate-passed bill staving off a tax hike on most Americans. But, in the process, the GOP abandoned its opposition to job-crushing tax hikes on millions of small businesses dooming the U.S. economy to continued malaise.

The GOP conference in the House split on the vote, with enough Republicans joining with Democrats to pass the bill.

As it stands now, the GOP conference is a house divided against itself.

Boehner and establishment types vs. the conservative TEA party members who swept the GOP back into control of the chamber in 2010.

The split vote last night comes after Boehner flared out with the so-called "Plan B" to resolve the fiscal cliff crisis. Not only could he not attract Democrat support for his plan, but he couldn't secure enough backing from Republicans to pass his legislation through a chamber he supposedly controls.

If Boehner is re-elected Speaker later this week, the GOP can look forward to two more years of being rolled by the Democrats on every significant issue that comes before them.

The deal that ultimately passed was crafted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell, who makes John Adams look flashy, reached out to Vice President Joe Biden as the deadline approached and the two of them sealed the deal.

The fact the Democrats essentially won on the issue will obscure the fact that President Obama rivals Speaker Boehner when it comes to ineptitude. Obama and Boehner "negotiated" for six weeks and couldn't come up with a deal.
McConnell and Biden went to work for two days and got the job done. True, McConnell basically negotiated terms of the GOP's surrender, but he and Biden did accomplish the task.

And while there is much to hate in the compromise legislation there are a few silver linings.

First, the debate over the Bush era tax rates is finally over. For everyone making under $400,000 per year there is now some predictability when it comes to taxes. Also, those taxpayers dependent on an annual "patch" to the Alternative Minimum Tax need worry no longer as that quirk in the law has also been permanently resolved.

But, the deal is bad news for many small businesses, those facing onerous death taxes, and the utter failure of the GOP to enact any spending cuts.

Still, this is but one in a series of battles to be fought over the nation's economic future.

And, the GOP will be on politically more friendly ground going forward as congress decides what to do about the sequester, the debt ceiling, and (hopefully) entitlement reform.

For taxpayers and voters get used to the political wrangling and last minute deal making. This will be a staple of national life for at least the next two years.

Hopefully, somewhere along the way, the GOP can find a leader who will actually lead.

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