What Is a Man Profited If He Gains the Rules Committee and Loses His Soul?

It’s John Boehner Revenge Day in Washington.

And the propagators of the Great Big Adults Crushing the Tea Party meme are, of course, having a field day, luxuriating in the Orange Man’s awesome display of sheer, overwhelming power. Politico‘s Sherman and Bresnahan can barely contain their glee:

After he secured his third term as speaker Tuesday afternoon, losing 25 votes on the House floor to some relatively unknown members of the Republican Conference, Boehner moved swiftly to boot two of the insurgents from the influential Rules Committee. That could be just the start of payback for the speaker’s betrayers, who might see subcommittee chairmanships and other perks fall away in the coming months.

Boehner’s allies have thirsted for this kind of action from the speaker, saying he’s let people walk all over him for too long and is too nice to people who are eager to stab him in the back. The removal of Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent from Rules was meant as a clear demonstration that what Boehner and other party leaders accepted during the previous Congress is no longer acceptable, not with the House’s biggest GOP majority in decades.

OMG. What about washroom privileges?

Now without a doubt there are congressional committee assignments that at some times and in some places matter to actual voters. But I’ve never heard of anyone deciding to vote for or against a Member on the basis of a Rules Committee position. It’s the ultimate inside baseball.

And then you have to look at the affected “rebels.” The chief offender, Daniel Webster of Florida, was himself Speaker of the House in Florida for a good while. He’s buddies with Jeb Bush. He’s also very intimate with what might be described as the theocratic wing of the GOP–his first major bill in Florida was a homeschooling bill; he was right in the middle of the Terri Schiavo hysteria; he’s big buds with the American Family Association’s crazy-person leadership; and though perhaps it’s a coincidence, he has a family connection with the Full Quiver movement. I don’t know for certain sure, but given his associations I’d bet he believes his brand of conservative governance has been decreed as correct for all eternity by God Almighty via the Founders. Does he strike you as the kind of guy who’s going to freak out at being denied a spot on the Rules Committee?

After all, what is a man profited if he gains the whole Rules Committee but loses his soul? So rage on, Orange Man. You’ll fade just like all the other princes and principalities of this wicked earth.

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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.