Today is the day that the House will vote (and pass along strict party lines) the Billions for Billionaires votes. The villagers are predicting an easy win. I’m not as sure it will be easy. The Teabagger Conference, dontcha know, will have their panties in a knot at the trillion(s) dollar price tag.
The bill then moves onto the Senate for a vote on Wednesday. As Grandpa Walnut is recovering in the terrible sand kingdom of Arizonastan and will not be available to maverickily vote, we need two Republican senators to defect. Rumors were that Thad Cochrane might also miss the vote, but his office says that he will be there, senile as ever, with a handler to pull the lever for him. The correct lever.
Susan Collins already flipped, and the Corker Kickback pretty much bought everyone else. At any rate, Mike Pence will be standing by ready to break a tie if Corker suddenly finds his principles again.
Two Republicans with principles, is that too much to ask for? Maybe:
Republicans aren’t idiots.[Ed: yes, they are. –TG] They recognize just how unlikely [Trump’s] victory was and they know it won’t repeat itself. Demographic trends won’t slow down and midterm elections always go against the party in power anyway. They’re probably going to lose unified control of the government in 2018, and even if they hang on they won’t make it past 2020. This is their last chance to control the levers of power,quite possibly for a decade or two.
That’s why they’re pushing an unpopular tax bill. That’s why they’re focused like a laser on confirming judges. That’s why they might even take on entitlement reform. They’re going to lose power shortly no matter what they do, so they’re trying to put their stamp on the future while they still have the chance.
Well, that explains it. But we’re still totally fucked in the dark.
UPDATE 1: Krugman –
Raw bribery probably isn’t the issue, although insider trading based on close relationships with companies affected by legislation may be a much bigger deal than most realize. But the revolving door is an even bigger deal. When members of Congress leave their positions, voluntarily or not, their next jobs often involve lobbying of some kind. This gives them an incentive to keep the big-money guys happy, never mind what voters think.
One perverse effect of this incentive is that recent G.O.P. electoral losses may have strengthened the party’s determination to do unpopular things. Suppose you represent a mildly Republican-leaning district in, say, California or New York. Given what looks like a building Democratic wave, your odds of keeping that seat next year look low whatever you do — so it’s time to focus on pleasing your future employers on K Street.