First, here’s the LA Times reporting a major storm of pure righteous outrage coming from Trenton:
Christie, a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, reserved his most blistering words for the Republican House speaker. He described Boehner, variously, as selfish, duplicitous and gutless for reversing course at the last minute on Tuesday night and refusing to allow a vote on a $60-billion aid package before the current Congress adjourned.
Christie said that as a result of “the speaker’s irresponsible action,” there will be further delay in federal disaster aid to New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and other areas hit by the October storm. He pointed out that it had been 66 days since the storm hit and that areas struck by other hurricanes in recent years had received relief packages in far less time.
GOP Representative Peter King, who represents a Long Island (south shore) district that was particularly hard-hit by Sandy, was on the same page. The New York Daily News reports King’s attack on his own party:
King, on CNN, put this in regional terms. A southern Tea Party dominated party has a bias against the Northeast.
He expected the political consequences would include “Republican seats in the Northeast that I think were lost last night” due to the House leadership’s move.
“There are a number of Republicans who may be able to kiss their seats goodbye because of what was done to them, not because of what they did, but what was done to them,” he said. “Because the issue is if you can’t provide the most basic assistance for your district, who needs you in Congress?”
King planned to carefully consider how to vote with future measures, holding his vote “in abeyance.” He stopped short of saying he would vote to buck Boehner’s speakership and although his frustration was high, he said he would not leave the GOP. “I’m going to do what I have to do,” King said, adding he is “independent minded” and felt as though his party had “written me off.”
Peter King and the remaining GOP members of congress from the Northeast can kiss their seats goodbye, if Democrats effectively argue that the GOP leadership hurts their state. Why would you vote for a representative whose first vote will be to elect leadership that hates our state? The national GOP leadership has done considerable damage to their prospects in the Northeast; even with absolutely zero members from the six New England states, there’s still damage to be done.
Here’s the numbers for the 113th Congress:
- New England: 0 Republicans, 21 Democrats
- New York: 6 Republicans, 21 Democrats
- New Jersey: 6 Republicans, 6 Democrats
- Pennsylvania: 13 Republicans, 5 Democrats
- Delaware: 0 Republicans, 1 Democrat
- Maryland: 1 Republican, 7 Democrats
There are 26 GOP members from the Northeast (along with 61 Democrats). Can a coalition of Northeast Republicans, and some reality-based GOP members from around the country, break the Tea Party – Southern stranglehold on the House of Representatives? Can they join with Democrats to put together a bipartisan governing coalition?
There isn’t much time between now and tomorrow, when the Speaker is elected. Could a GOP pragmatist emerge as speaker, supported by Democratic votes, in which the GOP Northeast and moderates and the Democrats share committee chairs?
This kind of thing happens at the state level. The New York GOP retained control of their state senate by coalescing with five renegade Democrats. Two Washington State Senate Democrats gave control of their legislative body to the GOP.
So, why not the House of Representatives?