boehner crying
Sometimes you just don’t know what to think.

Earlier today I posted about the Quisling caucus in the House preparing to grab their ankles and let [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] have his way with them… and seemingly looking forward to the experience.

At that time the House strategy — if we were to dignify it with that description — was to pass a “clean” three-week funding measure so [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] could continue to humiliate [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ]. It the story I noted that the idea was pretty dumb because [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ] was whipping the Democrats to vote against the bill.

The bill came to a vote earlier today and was defeated. I’m using an extended quote from Politico because there is so much #FAIL:

In a stunning blow to House Republican leaders, the chamber on Friday defeated a three-week funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security in a 203-224 vote — just hours before the top domestic anti-terrorism federal agency runs out of money at midnight.

The vote is the latest and perhaps most stinging repudiation of Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team, who have struggled repeatedly to corral rank-and-file Republicans against the backdrop of legislative crisis. The Ohio Republican has been caught between conservatives demanding that he use the DHS issue to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration and avoiding a funding lapse of the department.

He and other GOP leaders had been scrambling to lock down votes ahead of the vote, which was delayed Friday afternoon to give them more time to line up support. Just before 1 p.m., the House recessed. Senior GOP aides said they were on the brink of rounding up enough backing to approve the stopgap bill coupled with a motion to enter formal negotiations with the Senate. The aim had been to secure enough support to ensure that no Democrats were needed to bring the bill across the finish line.

Instead, 52 Republicans voted against the measure — after House leaders kept the vote open for nearly an hour. Only 12 Democrats ultimately voted in favor of the funding bill, but they initially held their votes close to the vest in a strategy to force the GOP to cough up their own votes

A charitable way to read the outcome would be to hypothesize that Boehner was simply giving the tar-baby (can we even use that expression anymore?) back to McConnell. Truth told, the gutless old woman who pretends to be the Senate majority leader screwed Boehner by kowtowing to [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ].

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Via Allahpudit at HotAir:

Update: A statement in my inbox from a House Republican leadership aide:

“A DHS shutdown would not stop Obama’s amnesty. A three-week CR avoids a shutdown, keeps the fight alive, ensures Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday won’t be overshadowed, and will give us a clearer picture of where the court case is going.

“This isn’t about Republicans needing more time to decide what to do. The House passed its bill January 14. The Senate attempted to vote on it four times since February 3. A judge put a hold on the president’s unilateral action February 17. We’re sticking to our goal: fund DHS and stop Obama’s amnesty.

“As Speaker Boehner tweeted this morning: ‘We are not giving in to Senate Democrats’ blackmail. Will keep fighting Obama’s unilateral action on immigration to protect Constitution.’”

So it seems like this was a real vote that Boehner wanted to pass. I think we have the following takeaways:

  • The GOP leadership in both House and Senate is comically inept and more than a little stupid. [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] isn’t beating them at four dimensional chess, he’s kicking their ass at Go Fish. If a DHS shutdown does not stop the amnesty program, then why in the name of the Great Jehovah did he include it in the bill? (Answer, he was trying to convince us rubes out here in the cheap seats that he was doing something). And once you’ve laid down a marker like this, especially one that has zero downside, why not stick with it? But PUH-freakin-LEAZE don’t tell me you are doing this to stop Obama’s amnesty program and now tell me it doesn’t make a difference. That is just degrading to both of us.
  • Steve Scalise is a steaming bucket of #FAIL. How could anyone who claims to be the whip not corral enough votes to pass a bill the Speaker wanted passed. Back to Politico:

One problem for leadership is that conservatives believe Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have no plan to fund DHS when money runs out in three weeks. The vote was a test for Scalise in particular, since he had run on a platform of being able to persuade conservatives to support leadership’s priorities.

  • Boehner is not respected by the Democrats. He’s not respected by conservatives. It isn’t even clear that he’s respected by moderates. Where a mercy killing would be in order for McConnell, Boehner should consider stepping aside as Speaker.

Where to from here? Heaven only knows. This kind of fiasco has a once-in-a-generation/lifetime/century quality to it. A House leadership disavowing its own strategy but unable to convince its members to go along. A Senate majority that has been stump-trained by a mediocrity. A president who is using the Constitution for toilet paper. Someone should make a movie about this.