The GOP At War With Itself

This really is an astonishing moment. They’ve ruled out sunsetting the ruinous Bush tax cuts; they’ve balked at a Grand Bargain; they’ve pushed the Democrats to produce a debt-ceiling plan that relies entirely on spending cuts … and they still think they haven’t won and haven’t made their point.

And the fracas is only getting worse. Think Progress finds that 25 Republicans have publicly committed to voting no on Boehner’s plan – but he can’t win with more than 23 defections. Rand Paul is calling John McCain a “troll,” after McCain called the Tea Partiers hobbitses; the two stars of the GOP candidates’ field, Palin and Bachmann, have urged a defeat for Boehner, backed by Rush Limbaugh; CATO is adamant:

The “cuts” in the Boehner plan are only cuts from the CBO baseline, which is an assumed path of constantly rising spending. If Congress wanted to, it could require CBO to increase its “baseline” spending by, say, $5 trillion over the next decade. Then Boehner could claim that he was “cutting” spending by $5.9 trillion, even though his plan hadn’t changed. You can see that discretionary “cuts” against baselines don’t mean anything.

Michelle Malkin is whipping up hysteria in her trade-marked way:

Remember: When Democrats say “balanced approach,” they mean it’s up to the GOP to perform the downward dog yoga pose.

Meanwhile, the establishment is threatening to throw one Tea Party member, Jim Jordan, out of his safe seat. No they just mean what the British Tories mean: some revenue increases are essential for the debt to be tackled seriously, alongside big spending cuts. Some Republicans are balking at continued funding for, yes, Pell grants in the Boehner bill. These elephants are stampeding in different directions at once. Maybe Boehner has a few poisoned darts to shoot. But maybe he doesn’t.

Well: they asked for it, didn’t they? Meep meep …