While a Republican-Democratic standoff has been blamed for much of the Capitol Hill gridlock in recent years, the GOP majority is blocked by its own internal conflicts from taking an active leadership role and moving forward, Kathleen Parker says.
Pulitzer winner Parker, writing in the Washington Post,
concludes that the recent standoff over funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) illustrates the difficulty Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio., faces in trying to wrangle contentious conservative Republicans into a coalition wielding their majority power effectively to govern.
Despite conservative attempts to use the funding vote as an opportunity to overturn Obama's executive actions on immigration, Fox News notes,
the House voted 257-167 to approve DHS funding through the end of the fiscal year, in what was widely seen as a "victory for the Obama Administration."
In what Parker terms a "high-stakes game of chicken," Boehner tried "to get his conference to act rationally, but the 52 or so, whose mission is to act disruptively at any opportunity, force the House majority into a 'bad deal.'
"Here on terra firma," Parker, targeting the tea party and Freedom Caucus, writes, "if you lose, you lose. You may be reelected as approval for your zeal as a live-free-or-die, stand-with-Bibi, 'Duck Dynasty' patriot, but to what effect, if one’s ability to bring about change is neutered in the process?
"It is fair to note that Boehner hasn’t been able to corral enough votes to move forward with any momentum. But it is also true that a leader can’t lead those whose proudest accomplishment is to not follow," she writes in the Post.
Boehner, after telling his colleagues, "I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president," recommended a vote for a "clean" funding bill, without any inclusions to block Obama's immigration actions. Funding was set to expire Friday at midnight, Fox News reports.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, conceded, "This is the signal of capitulation."
"Once again," Parker writes, "Democrats were handed the opportunity to point out that Republicans aren’t in town to govern. They’re in town to lose.
"Whether this solution changes public perception sufficiently — and whether it can hold up through the Republican primary process — is yet to be seen. In the meantime, what we do know is that a Republican can't win the presidency if the party more widely is considered not ready for prime time."
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