LaTourette: Blame Tea Party “chuckleheads,” not Boehner’s leadership

posted at 4:16 pm on December 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Let the recriminations begin!  Now that the House Republican caucus has fallen apart, at least momentarily, we can expect a lot of finger-pointing and blame-throwing from all sides — and in fact, it started almost immediately last night.  Fox and Friends plays this reaction from Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH), who says not to blame John Boehner for last night’s failure of his Plan B strategy.  Instead, LaTourette blames the Tea Party “chuckleheads” who have “screwed this place up.”

Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette said that Boehner is not to blame for the stalemate, the Tea Party is.

“I don’t know what the number is but say the number is 40 out of 240 – that’s not a repudiation of his leadership. That’s the same 40, 50 chuckleheads that all year … have screwed this place up. And he has done everything in his power to make nice to them, to bring them along, to make them feel included, but it hasn’t mattered,” he said.

I’m not sure that kicking a few of them out of their committee assignments in the last week or so made them feel particularly included.  Here’s a question for LaTourette: why do that before walking out on a limb with this Plan B strategy, since it would obviously alienate them and their allies just before a leadership-affirming vote like this?  That goes directly to strategy and leadership.  If Boehner and his team wanted to punish a few people for disunity, perhaps it should have waited until after the fiscal-cliff negotiations ended, no?

That’s not to say that LaTourette doesn’t have a genuine beef, either.  Steve Doocy defends the Tea Party opposition to Plan B as a response to Boehner abandoning the key principle of not raising taxes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make much sense as a defense.   At some point, we either cut a deal before the fiscal cliff raises everyone’s taxes, or go off the fiscal cliff and raise everyone’s taxes, or cut the deal after raising everyone’s taxes temporarily.  To the extent that the Tea Party caucus had an impact yesterday, it was a push toward those latter two outcomes.  And if either of the latter two outcomes happen, then Barack Obama will be able to claim credit for a massive middle-class tax cut after the fact, and the media will be more than happy to help build that narrative.

Republicans lost the presidential race and lost ground in the Senate, which means that they’re not going to be able to force a deal that doesn’t include some kind of tax hikes now.   Even the “revenue” that Boehner put on the table in his previous offers means tax increases — just not rate increases, a point on which Obama ran and won his second term as President.  That is what is meant by “elections have consequences.”  Apparently, the implications of the loss in November still haven’t sunk in with some in the House GOP.

Still, the “chuckleheads” to whom LaTourette refers got elected to their offices the same way Boehner and LaTourette did, and have as much claim to a mandate within their own districts. It’s the job of effective leadership to craft strategies that include enough of the caucus to bring them along — and to time punishment so that it doesn’t damage the key strategies in high-stakes negotiations.  There seems to be plenty of blame to go around today in the House Republican caucus, and name-calling won’t help resolve the situation.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

Boehner realized that would never be any appeasing of the ‘chuckleheads’ – and the only way forward was to try and marginalize them. They’ve never offered anything but ‘no’. The recent committee banishment and the Plan B failure are just effective of the turmoil his new approach will cause. But in the end, I think he’ll succeed.
These guys have had their 15 minutes, but most of the GOP reps still believe in governing – and that they have responsibilities.
They also understand that – as Ed points out – Obama won.
The grown ups in the room are about to take charge.
I’m not worried.

verbaluce on December 23, 2012 at 8:41 AM

LaTourette is a perfect example of why Romney was defeated and the RINOs will never win a national election again. The RINOs like this loon have relegated the GOP to now not being relevant on the national stage. LaTourette is a laughingstock, nothing more.

volsense on December 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM

When you resort to name calling, you prove you are on the weak side and only add to the disunity! The Obama win was not a mandate to tax and spend! This was a close election, not an overwhelming victory by any stretch. LaTourette should rethink his outburst!

tomshup on December 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

LaTourette is my rep and yes, he has been there too long.
Too many years and too much Kool-Aid turns you into Boss Hog.
Glad he is going, not that it will make much difference.
BO (& Soros) wants to go over the cliff.
The fix is in, this all just Kabuki.

esblowfeld on December 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

When you resort to name calling, you prove you are on the weak side and only add to the disunity! The Obama win was not a mandate to tax and spend! This was a close election, not an overwhelming victory by any stretch. LaTourette should rethink his outburst!

tomshup on December 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

My gawd, stop that nonsense already…of course people voted for him because they wanted to see the rich paying more in taxes, among other things, while preserving their own freebies…you can delude yourself as much as you want, but elections do have consequences, and yes, the Reps lost, as much as we hate to admit..as for ‘this was a close election’, give.me.a.break. if Repulicans won by the same margins Obama did, am sure you would be here clamoring in unequivocal terms the legitimacy of their mandate and how they have every right to implement whatever policies they think fit…so, pls, cut the BS with ‘this was a close election’, rationaliations stink, you know…and in case you didn’t notice, pretty much all elections were ‘close’ since 2000…. By your token, Bush hardly had a mandate during his first term, considering his election margins…

jimver on December 24, 2012 at 1:23 PM

“No” is the right answer. To Marxism and everything else being pushed by the DC Establishment.

pdigaudio on December 25, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Instead, LaTourette blames the Tea Party “chuckleheads” who have “screwed this place up.”

It’s time for the tea party to seek other options outside the GOP.

HondaV65 on December 26, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4