HOUSE GOP’S SHAKE-UP…. It seems like a very long time ago, but there was a point, early last year, at which House Republican leaders believed they could reclaim a majority in the chamber this year. With the benefit of hindsight, this seems pretty ridiculous, now that Democrats expanded their majority by about 20 seats.
The next phase, however, is watching the House Republicans figure out what they’re going to do about it. One assumes the caucus would replace its failed leadership in the chamber with a new team, but that’s not exactly the plan.
As House Republicans assessed the wreckage after a second consecutive electoral bloodbath, this much was clear: Members are willing to spare their leader, Ohio Rep. John A. Boehner. His No. 2, Minority Whip Roy Blunt, might not be so lucky, however, as it appears he will avoid an inevitable challenge from his top deputy, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor.
Beyond that, there was only chaos. And finger-pointing.
Florida Rep. Adam Putnam has resigned as chairman of the Republican Conference, while Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole wants to stay on as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, despite his awful cycle and the fact that he was nearly forced from the post last year.
But the real mystery here is Boehner’s job security. He published a 900-word letter to his caucus yesterday, explaining why he wants to stay on as Minority Leader, and the text didn’t say anything. It was just as series of hollow platitudes, suggesting Boehner doesn’t have the foggiest idea how he wants to lead next year, and/or what he expects the Republican caucus to do. That, coupled by his failed tenure, would ordinarily make Boehner ripe for a challenge. His track record, for lack of a better word, is rather embarrassing.
And yet, Republicans don’t seem anxious to change direction at all. I can only assume, under the circumstances, that no one actually wants to be the House Republican Leader right now, and if Boehner isn’t quitting, his caucus is prepared to just let him stay on.
It is odd, though, isn’t it? After a debacle like this, aren’t party leaders expected to do the honorable thing and step down?