A Centrist Coup?

Since I’ve indulged in some less-than-cheery speculation much of the day about how the shutdown crisis might unfold over time, I’ll close today’s substantive blogging with a happy fantasy presented earlier today by Jonathan Chait: a centrist “coup” against John Boehner backed by the business community and House Democrats that would turn the gavel over to a “moderate” Republican who would foreswear hostage-taking politics for good.

This sounds unlikely, and it is. But it’s not impossible. These sorts of coups have happened in the state of Washington and in Texas. It is, sadly, easier to imagine this happening after the disaster of a debt-ceiling breach than before, even though it would be far saner to forestall a catastrophe than to react to one. But it’s increasingly clear that House Republican rule is an unmitigated and unsalvageable calamity for the United States, and resolving that calamity is where the energies of sane people must be directed.

Ah, yes, the “energies of sane people” ought to converge on non-perilous governance. Had Peter King managed to muster more than 5 “moderate” GOP votes against last night’s final Boehner CR, I might even think it was distantly realistic. But we can always dream.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.