[personal profile] barking_iguana
When Dennis Hastert made a policy of not bringing to a vote any measure that did not have the support of a majority of Republicans, that was novel. It was an increase in partisanship in the mechanics of how the House was run.

But how the GOP caucus now runs is far beyond that. By the Hastert rule, the Speaker could bring to the floor any measure that was supported by 124 Republicans, because the number of Republicans opposing it would be fewer than that.

Now it is considered a grievous breech of protocol to bring forward a measure unless it has the support of 218 Republicans. A measure could win a straw poll in the GOP caucus 217-30 and it would be out of bounds because it could not pass a full House vote without some Democratic support.

If the responsible Republicans want to take back power, they must insist on going back to the Hastert-era protocol. The nutters say that they would not vote for any speaker who does that. Those interested in governing must call the nutters' bluff, even if it means making a few deals with conservative Democrats to elect a Speaker. It probably wouldn't come to that, but the threat must be made if the bulk of the caucus wants to be more than bystanders.

Charlie Dent (R-PA) brought up the possibility today. Not so far as an intent or a prediction of what will come to pass, but as a prediction of what will happen if the caucus otherwise fails to agree on a Speaker. That is a necessary step in the GOP resuming its role as a serious party.
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October 2016


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