Friday, August 03, 2007

Cracking the Party

Today, Steve Benen noted that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has done a surprisingly good job keeping his caucus in line. In three relatively popular bills that recently came to a vote on the House floor (Pay Equity, Child Healthcare, and Troop Readiness), Boehner managed to keep Republican defections to 2, 5, and 6, respectively. Democrats can't get that level of uniformity even when they're in the majority, and when they were in the minority half the time the party broke more often than Humpty-Dumpty. So it's an impressive display by Boehner (though whether it is wise to have his whole party on record against these issues is something else entirely).

But on the presidential side, things are looking less sanguine. Mike Huckabee strongly hinted today that he would consider an independent, third party run if the GOP nominated a pro-choice or pro-gay rights candidate. It's clearly a reference to Giuliani (and Romney?), who are now the front-runners for the nomination. The Christianist wing of the Republican Party is not happy with either of those two folk, does not trust the institutional branch of its party, and I can see a serious flight to a third party candidate if they nominate someone who is even perceived to be moderate on social issues.

And if the GOP doesn't nominate a moderate? Well, I don't think that Michael Bloomberg is running, but if he does, it will because the Republican Party nominated a winger. And once again, if that happens, you'll see a GOP split that can only help Democrats.

There are a few candidates I think might be able to thread the needle (McCain, Thompson). And it's far from clear that Huckabee's threat is genuine. But it did raise my eyebrows. A GOP crackup is something I've been predicting for years. The day of reckoning may be close.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

broke more often than Humpty-Dumpty

Didn't he only break once?