John Boehner and Harry Reid started the week with plans that were within shouting distance of each other. It was easy to envision a compromise between them.
Boehner spent the week tweaking and reworking his bill to appeal to the 50 or so most conservative House members — people who almost certainly will not support whatever the final deal eventually is.
Reid spent the week, and today continues, tweaking and reworking his bill to appeal to, basically, Lamar Alexander – exactly the type of person who will need to support the final deal.
There is no equivalence, but there is clear blame for what’s going on.
I really don’t think that Boehner reworked the bill just for personal self-preservation, as some have argued; I think he did it for the perceived self-interest not of the crazies, but of the bulk of the GOP conference. They’re the ones who desperately want as many things as possible to vote for that can show their loyalty to the conservative cause, because they know that eventually they’ll have to vote for a deal, and they’re terrified of being cast as sellouts to the revolution.
But the truth is that if you constantly act as crazy as Michele Bachmann and Steve King and Louie Gohmert, then there’s not really any difference between you and them, even if you really know better.
The people who are most responsible for damaging the nation, and bringing it to the brink of even worse, are precisely the Republicans who do know better, in and out of Congress, who aren’t stepping up and demanding a reasonable solution.