Feedback
News

First Thoughts: Boehner strikes back - at conservative groups

Boehner strikes back -- at conservative groups… And the conservative groups punch back… House vote on Ryan-Murray budget takes place around 6:00 pm ET… Watching the 2014 politics with the vote, especially in the Senate… Vent-time for Senate Republicans… Inside the NBC/WSJ poll: Obama’s base of support loses two legs… On Wall Street and 2016… And Bob Barker endorses in FL-13.

*** Boehner strikes back -- at conservative groups: House Speaker John Boehner did something yesterday that we haven’t seen him do before: He lashed out at conservative groups opposing the Paul Ryan-Patty Murray budget deal, arguing that they do so even before they saw the specifics. "They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals," Boehner told reporters, per NBC’s Mike O’Brien. "This is ridiculous." Call it Boehner’s revenge for the shutdown. To our eyes, this has been brewing since early last fall, when these same conservative groups and politicians took Boehner and other House leaders down a road (the government shutdown) that you could tell they didn’t want to travel (and in fact had promised NOT to travel). But this time, Boehner stood up. And here’s the thing -- the Ryan-Murray deal represents the bare minimum what Republicans can support, and Boehner’s reaction seemed to be: “If you conservative groups can’t be for the bare minimum, what can you be for when our party has to govern at least one chamber of Congress?” The question, however, is if Boehner standing up to these groups is just the beginning. (Will he do the same on immigration next year? On other issues?) Or is it a one-time thing? As New York Magazine’s Jon Chait writes, “So the deal will probably pass. But conservative opposition signals that deal-making of any kind is painful enough that Republicans shouldn’t dare try it again.”

*** House vote on Ryan-Murray takes place around 6:00 pm ET: It’s possible that’s the message conservative groups want to send here – don’t do this again. That said, this does look like an attempt by the Republican establishment to retake control of the party. But they won’t get it without a fight. Per NBC’s Frank Thorp, the House will vote on the Ryan-Murray budget deal around 6:00 pm ET.

*** Conservatives punch back: But after Boehner’s remarks, conservative groups -- like Heritage Action and Club for Growth -- punched back. Here was Heritage Action: “Over the next few days, lawmakers will have to explain to their constituents, many of whom are our members, what they’ve achieved by increasing spending, increasing taxes and offering up another round of promises waiting to be broken.” And here was Club for Growth: "We stand with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, members of the Republican Study Committee and every other fiscal conservative who opposes the Ryan-Murray deal. After carefully reviewing the budget deal, on which we never commented until it was complete, we determined that it would increase the size of government.” Bottom line: A month ago, Democrats were the ones divided (over the health-care website, over those cancelled private-market health plans). Yet now Republicans are the ones who are back to the infighting (once again). And it all comes when conservatives and Republicans have ALREADY WON the philosophical argument about cutting spending. 

*** Knowing when to declare victory: This is the aspect that frustrates so many non-Tea Party Republicans. They have the Democrats agreeing to the premise of “what should we cut,” not “what should we spend.” Sure, conservatives think Democrats aren’t as fervent about cutting spending as they are, duh! But the fact they have Democrats agreeing to look for spending cuts is a fundamental philosophical chance right now. The conservative movement just doesn’t know how to declare victory; it’s akin to caring more about the margin of victory in a football game than simply the victory itself.

*** Watching the 2014 politics: There’s one more aspect to this intra-GOP budget fight: The Tea Party challengers to the Republican Senate incumbents in 2014 all say they oppose the Ryan-Murray deal. Yesterday, we saw Matt Bevin (challenging Mitch McConnell), Milton Wolf (taking on Pat Roberts), and Chris McDaniel (taking on Thad Cochran) all issue releases stating their opposition to the deal and urging these incumbents to vote against it. And it appears that McConnell will vote against it. But here’s something to consider here: McConnell’s support for the deal that ended the government last October was based on championing the sequester cuts. So him opposing the Ryan-Murray deal is consistent with that position he took in October. Still, the timing does make it seem like that the Senate minority leader -- and the other incumbents facing Tea Party challenges next year -- are simply protecting their right flanks. Then again, as even some House Republicans have pointed out, for many Senate Republicans, opposing this deal is a free vote

*** Vent-time for Senate Republicans: So the vote on the Ryan-Murray budget deal is the action in the House. Meanwhile, here’s what’s going on over in the Senate. The Hill: “Senate Republicans made plans Wednesday to stage a more than 30-hour talkathon on the chamber floor to protest Democrats’ triggering of the ‘nuclear option’ last month. The GOP protest, which could extend into the weekend, will throw a wrench in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) hopes of wrapping up legislative business for 2013 as soon as possible. The Republicans aimed to push a final vote on Nina Pillard, one of President Obama’s picks for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, until the wee hours of the morning.” Here’s the best way to view this: This is a chance for Senate Republicans to vent after Democrats changed the filibuster rules. For what it’s worth, isn’t this precisely how senators should act if they want to gum up the system -- you should have to take EXTRAORDINARY action to protest something, right? The question is if we see this kind of protest for Senate Republicans again and again, or if are they simply making their point now and drop it.

*** Inside the NBC/WSJ poll: Obama’s base of support loses two legs: President Obama’s decline in the NBC/WSJ poll can be attributed, in part, to his loyal base fraying. There have been four different segments of his base: African Americans, Latinos, young voters, and women with college degrees. But according to the poll, the president’s approval rating is now upside down with two of those groups, 18 to 34 year olds (45%-49%) and Latinos (where his approval is in the 40s). He’s still performing very well among African Americans (87%-10%) and women with college degrees (55%-44%). But as everyone knows, a stool that loses two of its legs falls down.

*** On Wall Street and 2016: Politico has a piece about Wall Street in 2016, and how it’s placing its bets on Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie. But as the article notes, Wall Street might not realize how the ground has shifted on it and the financial sector. They may think this is about the folks in Washington who are beating them up but it’s about the public both on the right and left who are angry at the rich getting richer while they feel left behind and “Wall Street” is their bogeyman. And the closer Wall Street gets to both Clinton and Christie, it could potentially undermine them in 2016. Just something to watch as a strong strand of populism now resides in BOTH political parties.

*** Bob Barker endorses in FL-13 race: And finally, don’t miss this Roll Call story about next year’s special congressional election in Florida: “Former game show host Bob Barker will endorse GOP lobbyist David Jolly in a television ad on Thursday that will air during a special episode of ‘The Price is Right.’ ‘Because with Jolly, the choice is right,’ says Barker in the spot. Jolly’s campaign has reserved advertising time during Thursday’s episode of ‘The Price is Right,’ according to a source who tracks media buys in the Florida special election. Barker will make a special appearance on his former show that day to celebrate his 90th birthday.” 

http://is.gd/ccxyrR%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">Click here to sign up for First Read emails.

Text FIRST to 622639, to sign up for First Read alerts to your mobile phone.

Check us out on http://is.gd/TzuR1b%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">Facebook and also on http://is.gd/hkhSDT%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank">Twitter. Follow us @http://twitter.com/#!/chucktodd">chucktodd, @http://twitter.com/#!/mmurraypolitics">mmurraypolitics, @http://twitter.com/#!/DomenicoNBC">DomenicoNBC, @brookebrower