” In the mid-1970s, the Republican Party was in complete disarray. Watergate had taken its toll. Democrats swept into office by huge margins, where they held a super majority in the Senate and nearly 300 votes in the House. The conservative movement was decimated but within the Senate a rump group of conservative senators decided to fight back. They did not take to the microphones. They did not hold press conference. Rather, they used the rules of the institution to get Democrats and liberal Republicans to take dozens of “tough votes” on “killer” amendments to defeat a slew liberal legislation. Despite having only 39 Republicans, including RINOs like Jacob Javits (R.-N.Y.), they defeated a slew of liberal agenda items. Those roll call votes were the very issues used to defeat all those liberal senators in the 1980 Reagan landslide, including Javits, who lost in a GOP primary that year.
In other words, they made their opponents crawl over miles of glass. The lesson lost on the modern GOP.
Boehner has engaged in the series of one-on-one negotiations with the president while his members have been sitting ideally waiting for news of the coming capitulation.
A better strategy would have been to put them to work. The speaker could use his ability to schedule votes and committee hearings to being a series of bills to the floor that would drive a wedge between the president and his Democrat allies. Forcing a series of uncomfortable votes would ultimately create back pressure on the President from members of his own party.”
- Rothenberg: Obama Looms Large Over Democrats’ 2014 Fight to Retain the Senate (rollcall.com)
- It’s official: The 112th Congress was the most polarized ever (washingtonpost.com)