Not Over Yet

The man of the (late) hour.

So we have a 15th-ballot Speaker, or maybe it’s a Silenced Speaker, and maybe it’s only for a while, who knows. But that isn’t what I care about: What I want to know is what is the ‘rule’ for the new Congress going to be. When things petered out in the early hours of the morning they either didn’t have a text or didn’t have the votes. (Does this mean CSPAN gets to keep actually covering the House for a bit longer?)

The rules governing the new House matter for all sorts of reasons, e.g. how much freedom members will have to propose amendments to spending bills. Critically, the rule will show how much effort will be needed to get bills to the floor in the face of the “Hastert Rule” (nothing gets to the floor without a majority of the GOP’s support), and especially what the pathways will be to pass a debt ceiling change, and a budget, over the ultra-obstruction wing of the GOP. It may also tell us how the members of what likely will be the all-important conference committees will be selected–all-important becasue differences between House and Senate bills seem likely, assuming there are House bills at all.

One of the smartest comments I’ve heard on the mess was relayed to me by a relative, so I can’t credit the source. The way to look at the House, it said, is to think of the GOP not as one party but a coalition government like Lab-Lib in the UK, or like in Italy or Israel. Indeed, Israel strikes me as a decent metaphor, in which the larger GOP faction is something radial right like Likud, and the smaller one something like Noam with dashes of Benghazi and nihilism.

Fun times a-coming.

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