This report is coming from The Hill and relies pretty much on “Republican lawmakers” and staffers “speaking on condition of anonymity” so factor that in. But given what we’ve heard from some other members over the last couple of months, I wouldn’t find it terribly surprising if this were true.
Republican lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with what they say is a lack of communication from their leaders.
Both centrist and conservative members in the House believe that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants could have done more earlier this year to counter the Tea Party’s effort to defund ObamaCare. Some Republicans on Capitol Hill say such an effort is politically impossible with a Democratic-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House. Regardless, the rift on what to do on ObamaCare has opened up a civil war within the GOP.
The complaint is similar to ones we’ve heard before, citing people who warned the Speaker to “get out in front” of the issue of demands to defund Obamacare, shutting down the government, etc. etc. before it turned into a civil war in the press. And, of course, Ted Cruz is cited as the chief fly in the ointment. The new complaint is that the leadership spent too much time fundraising for 2014 and failed to communicate with the members.
One member, however, was willing to go on the record and said that the communications problem wasn’t between Boehner and the members… it was that the Speaker isn’t listening to the voters.
“The leadership, because of other obligations they have during the August recess to raise money and meet with groups, may not have had as many town hall meetings in their specific districts as rank-and-file members, and so they may not have been aware of how strongly the message was delivered to those of us who did stay in our districts the entire August recess,” Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said.
One last pair of gems from this selection of quotes… also anonymous.
“Boehner should have shut it down before we left … Cruz started talking about this before we left and Boehner should have said, ‘We’re not doing that and this is why.’ Just shut it down!,” the legislator said.
Many GOP lawmakers share that frustration privately and several have gone so far as to call their party “leaderless.”
“Here we are complaining about a president who can’t lead [on Syria], who leads us into this morass and we’re doing the same things to ourselves on ObamaCare, on the debt ceiling,” one conservative complained.
If you read the entire report, it seems that the only person they could find who actually supported Cruz on the Obamacare question was Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) who called it an opportunity of a lifetime. Others, such as John Shimkus and Presidential hopeful Peter King both wanted to find some way to say, can’t we all just get along?
If this reporting were even remotely close to being a representative sample of Congress, it would make it sound as if Cruz is pretty much fighting on a team that numbers in single digits. That sounds fairly unlikely, but we won’t know the real numbers until some of these budget questions begin coming up for a vote – assuming the House can agree on anything to vote on – in the next few weeks.