(“Pickles“, Brian Crane, via GoComics.com)
Keeping Democrats in good order is like herding cats, but the current crop of Repubs hasn’t exactly fallen in line for its putative leaders either. The Washington Post is abuzz that
Roland Hedley Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain: the Presidency of G.W. Bush, has a new book coming out:
Time and again last year, House Republican leaders faced a nearly intractable opponent: the very freshman class that propelled them into the majority with the historic 2010 midterm elections. Rebelling from the outset of the 112th Congress and later wreaking internal havoc during talks to increase the Treasury Department’s ability to borrow funds, the freshman class repeatedly created problems for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), according to a new book.
The freshman resistance caused feuds among Boehner and his lieutenants that led some to fear a mutiny, heightened several showdowns with President Obama and eventually led to fissures among the rookies, pitting those who seldom trusted the leaders against those who reflexively did, according to “Do Not Ask What Good We Do,” an account of the freshman class’s impact by Robert Draper….
“You’ve created a monster,” Rep. Renee L. Ellmers (R-N.C.), a former nurse elected in 2010, warned House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), according to Draper’s book…
The book, which will be released Tuesday, shows just how much energy had to be expended on the 87 freshmen who took their oath in January 2011, many of them holding office for the first time. Accounting for nearly 40 percent of Boehner’s conference, the freshmen exercised their clout early and often, imposing their will on the rest of the House Republicans.
Many freshmen viewed GOP leaders warily from the outset and compelled Boehner’s team to make the rookies the constant focus of its attention.
“I didn’t come to Washington to be part of a team,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) told the book’s author….
During the debt-ceiling fight, some freshmen were ready to push the government into default. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), a first-time politician who was a surprise winner of a West Texas district, wrote Boehner to express his fear that the debt ceiling was “very possibly a hostage that we’re unwilling to shoot.”
In an interview Friday, Farenthold said he has some regret that he eventually agreed, under pressure from local businessmen, to support the compromise, because it brought only $2.1 trillion in savings.
“I think we could have survived it,” he said Friday of a federal default…
Also bound to make an impact (h/t commentor PZ), at least upon the delicate sensibilities of its subject, is Michael Sean Winters’ latest TNR review of “The Accommodator“:
ROSS DOUTHAT’S ANALYSIS of religion in America is more sophisticated than the analysis of, say, Rick Santorum—but not by much. There are many ways to be simplistic and coarse. In contending against what he sees as an America afflicted with too many heresies, Douthat’s book, like Santorum’s speeches, is riddled with mistakes of fact and interpretation that would make any learned person blush…
My problem with Douthat’s book is not that his opinions differ from my own. My problem is that he does not seem to have any idea what he is talking about. In the West, there has been no universally accepted authoritative voice on orthodoxy since the Reformation. “What am I to do when many persons allege different interpretations, each one of whom swears to have the Spirit?” asked Erasmus in 1524. But Douthat does not see the larger picture that he aims to explain, and his treatment of his subject is so pitifully mistaken in things large and small that what we are left with is a meandering, self-serving screed…
Apart from being duly grateful that one is neither a member of the House of Representatives or Ross Doubthat, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?