The vote totals for the three-week extension tell the story. Fifty-two Republicans bucked Boehner to oppose the measure, joining 172 Democrats who did the same. By contrast, only 12 Democrats voted in the affirmative and against the wishes of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Boehner renegades -- Steve King of Iowa, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Dave Brat of Virginia among many others -- identify closely with the tea party wing of the GOP which finds its congressional champion in the form of Sen. Ted Cruz. (Worth noting: Cruz has been decidedly quiet during this latest debate.)
For those four dozen (or so) members, any bill that didn't tie funding DHS to repeal of the executive orders issued by President Obama on immigration was unacceptable. Never mind that such legislation could never make it through the Senate -- Democrats in that chamber had blocked attempts to end debate on a measure like that four times in recent days -- and even if it did pass the Senate it would surely be vetoed by the president.
That logic seemed lost on the most conservative elements -- as it has been time and again over the past three-plus years. From the collapse of the "Plan B" proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff to the Farm Bill failure to Friday's vote, the story is always the same: Boehner proposes legislation to prevent Republicans from taking the lion's share of blame in whatever the latest moment of brinkmanship is between Congress and the White House. Conservatives refuse to sign on. Republicans are eventually forced to accept something that is less advantageous for their side than the Boehner proposal. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It's like watching reruns of a show you didn't like the first time you saw it. For Boehner, I'm sure it would be funny if it wasn't so brutal to live through.
I wrote earlier this week that Republicans were, again, demonstrating their inability to get out of their own way to win political fights. They proved it again with this vote.