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January 03, 2013 5:21 PM ‘14 Purge?

By Ed Kilgore

Lots of observers noted the rather large and decisive regional splits in the House vote on the “fiscal cliff” tax bill. Here’s John Judis’ summary:

All in all, 85 Republicans voted for the Senate resolution and 151 voted against it. The opposition was centered in the Old South. Southern Republicans opposed the measure by 83 to 10. The delegations from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina were unanimously opposed. As one might expect, the bill got support from five Florida Republicans, including Republicans from Cuban districts.
Republican House members from the East and the Far West strongly backed the Senate resolution. In the East, House Republicans were 24 to one in favor, with New York and Pennsylvania unanimous. In the Far West, Republicans voted by 17 to eight in favor. The Midwest was split, with 27 against and 21 for, with Michigan and Illinois in favor, and Ohio, the Speaker’s state, against 7 to 6. This back of the envelope tally suggests that, to a surprising extent, the Civil War divisions endure, and even supersede in this case the partisan divisions between Republicans and Democrats.

The rapidly congealing CW about why this happened is that “yea” voters were from districts where the main threat to incumbency is a Democratic general election opponent, while the “nays” were worried about primary challenges.

I’d note this sort of reductionist analysis excludes the possibility that some of these folks voted their convictions—particularly the “nay” voters who got elected as outspoken Tea types to begin with (52 of the 59 members of the Tea Party Caucus voted “nay”). More importantly, the idea that the 85 “yea” voters are by definition safe from a right-bent primary challenge may be quite wrong, at least if you give any credence to the loud saber-rattling going on about a great big RINO Purge in 2014:

[A]fter 85 House Republicans joined Boehner in raising taxes without spending reductions during the end game of Monday night’s fiscal-cliff negotiations, Tea Party leaders and conservative activists from around the country are dusting off their tri-corner hats and “Don’t Tread On Me” signs, and now say that their members are as energized as they have ever been since the first Tax Day protests in 2009. And the Republican Party, they add, had better beware.
“We now have 85 members of the House who have shunned their noses at us,” said Dustin Stockton, a Texas- and Nevada-based operative and the chief strategist of The Tea Party.net. “Our job now is to recruit and inspire and motivate people to run against those Republicans who did it.”

If nothing else, this sort of talk will keep the pressure on House GOPers to stay crazy during the upcoming debt limit fight. Progressives aren’t the only ones who have decided to judge the New Year’s deal on the basis of where it leads next.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Memekiller on January 03, 2013 5:33 PM:

    "The rapidly congealing CW about why this happened is that “yea” voters were from districts where the main threat to incumbency is a Democratic general election opponent, while the “nays” were worried about primary challenges."

    That's why averting the debt-ceiling fiasco - or ensuring the GOP pays consequences for their lack of patriotism - requires Democrats moving now to make a Democratic challenger in 2014 at least as much of a threat as a primary opponent.

    If they lose their primary, our candidate will face a loon capable of getting beat. If they win, they'll have done so by giving up the middle, making them easier to beat. If they are one of the 85 in the East, they are capable of being beat in any election, and will work to avert marginalizing themselves for Southern aesthetics.

  • martin on January 03, 2013 5:33 PM:

    The delegations from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina were unanimously opposed.

    At least according to news reports here (to lazy to confirm) the one Democratic Alabama
    House member voted for the package, as did one of our right wing wish we could get rid of him Senators, Jeff Sessions.
    So it wasn't unanimous, FWIW

  • CRA on January 03, 2013 5:39 PM:

    "We now have 85 members of the House who have shunned their noses at us"

    What an odd expression. Snubbed? That doesn't work, either.

  • John on January 03, 2013 5:53 PM:

    Not really my area, but the idea of civil war divisions reminded me of the idea of American Nations.

    http://www.colinwoodard.com/americannations

    This is the idea that there are eleven (I believe) cultural nations in our country and sometimes they disagree and sometimes they form alliances. The old. South is one of the nations.

  • Quaker in a Basement on January 03, 2013 5:56 PM:

    If nothing else, this sort of talk will keep the pressure on House GOPers to stay crazy during the upcoming debt limit fight.

    Call me a crazy optimist, but I have hope that a handful of GOPers will see a glimmer of daylight between themselves and the radical base and make a break for sanity.

  • punaise on January 03, 2013 5:59 PM:

    @CRA:

    Indeed, an odd formulation. Maybe mixing metaphors, i.e. cut off (shun?) one's nose to spite one's fate...

  • punaise on January 03, 2013 6:00 PM:

    oops: "face", not fate

  • Joel on January 03, 2013 6:07 PM:

    I assume they (metaphorically) *thumbed* their noses.

    The implications of shunning one's nose are . . well, breathtaking.

  • Bodacious on January 03, 2013 7:25 PM:

    Didn't Buerkle(R) from New York vote 'Present' or something like that? I don't think it was unanimous. Just something I thought I saw.

  • bleh on January 03, 2013 7:25 PM:

    Of course, the next step after shunning one's nose is to cut it off to spite one's face.

  • Bobbo on January 03, 2013 7:30 PM:

    Yes, it's "thumbed their noses," and "shunned their noses" is simply the utterance of an abject moron.

  • Anonymous on January 03, 2013 8:01 PM:

    @Joel at 6:07pm
    I see what you did there. Clever.

    Unlike the poor sop who uttered that malapropism. Also, I think Bobbo is right about the intellectual heft of yet another on-the-payroll TeaPartier.

  • Th on January 03, 2013 8:28 PM:

    Just read the post and ran to the comments to make a brilliant point only to see that Memekiller made the same point in the first comment. Rats.

  • T-Rex on January 03, 2013 8:39 PM:

    Some Tea Partiers have been saying that the members who voted for the budget deal should just leave the Republican party. I hope they take up that offer, and cross the aisle, which would suddenly give the Dems a very substantial majority in the House.

  • boatboy_srq on January 03, 2013 8:57 PM:

    The opposition was centered in the Old South. Southern Republicans opposed the measure by 83 to 10. The delegations from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina were unanimously opposed.

    One wonders how well the Teahad would go over if it were made clear that what's really happening there is the birth of the New Dixiecrats.


    And @almost everyone: We've learned that Teahadists can't grasp basic principles of governing; that they lack a grasp of common English sayings shouldn't be all that surprising. And @Joel in particular: After the various infantile tantrums Boehner, Cantor, McConnell et al have thrown, "shunning their noses" until either they turn blue and pass out, or the Democrats give in and give the GOTea everything they weren't elected to accomplish, sounds just about right. How many GOTea congresscritters have DNRs? Just askin'...

  • grammarfox on January 03, 2013 9:45 PM:

    Loved the "nose shunning" discussion, and I'm afraid I agree with Bobbo. I recently saw a comment on a Tea Party site about someone who "cut off his nose despite his face." Abject morons, indeed.

  • Rick B on January 04, 2013 9:32 AM:

    @T-Rex The problem with the sane Republicans crossing the aisle to join the Democrats is that each of them would be defeated in either the Democratic or the Republican Primary in 2014.

    It isn't just switching parties. It's quitting the career of holding political office.

  • Steve Garcia on January 04, 2013 1:12 PM:

    “We now have 85 members of the House who have shunned their noses at us,” said Dustin Stockton, a Texas- and Nevada-based operative and the chief strategist of The Tea Party.net.“Our job now is to recruit and inspire and motivate people to run against those Republicans who did it.”

    Oh, please do. The more crazies they run in general elections the more Dems will get elected - and the faster the Republican Party will cease to exist and stop offering cover for the Tea Party. When the Tea Party has to stand on its own, the Dems will win 80% of the federal elections.

    The Tea Party - unwittingly IMHO - is out to destroy the GOP, so we should all be encouraging them - maybe even to the point of Dems voting in primaries for Tea Party candidates. The death scene for the GOP can be a slow, painful death, or a quick one. Get the whole death scene over with, so that within our lifetimes the country can be sane again. When the Tea Party realizes that the important thing is not who wins the primaries but who gets elected, they will begin to get sane. I, for one, am not holding my breath on that - but I AM hopeful the Tea Party destroys the GOP. The old GOP did not desreve toi be taken over by crazies, but having let it happen, the best result is for it to die and stop giving cover to the Te Party mentality.

  • NCSteve on January 04, 2013 4:32 PM:

    No one shuns their nose at me and gets away with it!