Parting ways with ‘the extreme wing’ of the GOP

PARTING WAYS WITH ‘THE EXTREME WING’ OF THE GOP…. After just two months in Congress, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is perhaps best known for trying to deny the public taxpayer-subsidized health care while fighting to protect taxpayer-subsidized health care for himself.

Yesterday, the Tea Party favorite became known for something else.

Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), the Staten Island Republican who defeated Democrat Michael McMahon in November, just launched a broadside against conservative members of his own party who are threatening to defect from spending legislation that seeks to prevent a government shutdown.

“The extreme wing of the Republican Party is making a big mistake with their flat-out opposition to a short-term continuing resolution,” Grimm said in a statement. “I know that there is some opposition to working with Senate Democrats from the extreme right of the tea party who would rather see a government shutdown than pass a short-term solution; however, as long as we continue to cut spending each time, we are keeping our promise to the American people to reduce the deficit and fix the economy.”

Keep in mind, Grimm’s position isn’t exactly liberal. What we’re seeing here is an extension of the debate that started percolating two weeks ago — Republicans who care about the size of the spending cuts are arguing with Republicans who care about what gets cut. Grimm is effectively arguing, “We’re getting $2 billion a week, which translates to more than $100 billion over the course of a year. So what’s the problem?”

And the “extreme wing” is responding that $2 billion a week isn’t good enough unless it cuts specifically what they want to cut. If Grimm’s side wins, the pending continuing resolution shaped by the GOP leadership will pass. If the “extreme wing” wins, the measure will fail and the government will shut down.

It’s against this backdrop that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to simply ignore the GOP’s radical wing and work out a deal between Democrats and more moderate Republicans.

“It is becoming clear that the path to a bipartisan budget deal may not go through the Tea Party at all,” he said. “In order to avert a shutdown, Speaker Boehner should consider leaving the Tea Party behind and instead seek a consensus in the House among moderate Republicans and a group of Democrats.”

That’s good advice, which Boehner will have no choice but to ignore. Remember, just yesterday, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee announced his opposition to his own party leadership’s plan for a temporary extension. If the Speaker decided he wouldn’t let the RSC boss him around, Boehner might very well put his post in jeopardy — the Republican Study Committee has 176 members — a total that represents nearly three-quarters of the entire House GOP caucus.

The “extreme wing” of the GOP is the GOP.