NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 9, 2013

A divided GOP house will fall

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — I had about given up on Freddy when he came through the door and waved at the waitress on his way to our booth, and settled himself in without so much of a “how you doing?”

“Cat got your tongue?” I asked.

“Dentist got my tooth, and my tongue’s still numb,” he said.

“I’m surprised you still have one to pull,” I said.

“I’m making due, because making due is where we’re at,” Freddy said.

“With what?” I asked.

“With what we’ve got, which is not as much as what we need, and I’m going to have wait for a certain horse to win before I can fill the cavern the dentist left,” Freddy said.

“Well, we’re getting on,” I said.

“Which Washington isn’t, and won’t until Obama stops campaigning and Republicans accept the fact that they lost,” Freddy said.

“You must have missed what Boehner did last week,” I said.

“The Violence Against Women Act? I didn’t miss it,” Freddy said. “It passed the Republican House despite it being Pelosi’s bill.”

“Because Boehner let it be brought to a vote even though he knew he didn’t have a majority of Republicans in favor,” I said.

“What did you think he’d do?” Freddy asked. “Back opposition to a Violence Against Women Act?”

“Many of his fellow Republicans did,” I said.

“But Boehner saw this one as a no-brainer,” Freddy said. “Obama wants the House back. The strategy is to propose legislation that splits the Republican vote. Pelosi wants the House back so this bill was aimed at the women’s vote and Democrats filed it.

“Republicans own the House majority, but no way Boehner’s going to give the Democrats something to crow about which they would have done if he hadn’t let the bill go to the floor. So he does knowing there are only 87 Republican votes for it and 138 against it, and that the Democrats will win.

“But they would have won even more than big time if the Republicans had killed it, because women would take that to the polls two years from now.”

“So it’s a win-win situation for both parties,” I said.

“It’s like a chess game, where you take a loss in order to win bigger on another move down the line,” Freddy said. ‘‘Obama needs the House back big time. He’s got four more years, but he’s going to have to live with a Republican House for at least two of them. Even if Democrats get the House back he’ll only have two more years of his presidency with a supporting Congress for making whatever history he leaves behind.’’

“On the face of it, this vote doesn’t seem to be all that important,” I said.

“Look for more of it, because from here on out Republicans are going to be playing defense doing what they can to get ready for 2016 when Obama leaves office,” Freddy said. “He hasn’t quit running because he can’t, and neither have his backers out there raising the big bucks to take back the House and bring back Pelosi and company.”

“Think they can do it?” I asked.

“With the Republicans split the way they are?” Freddy asked.

“Sometimes, you have to let a rotting tooth be pulled rather than live with the pain. If Republicans lose the House two years from now Democrats will have the field all to themselves, and no one else to blame for what we have to live with.”

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Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.