An Uncomfortable Alliance
talkingpointsmemo.com — House Republicans contain multitudes. But in a way the story of their majority is about the deterioration of the relationship between the conference’s right-most faction and the rest of the party — and thus of the slow erosion of the party’s influence over major policy. This goes back to the early days of 2011, when House leaders would round up 218 Republican votes for big-deal bills, and use them as opening bids in negotiations with the White House and the Senate. They shifted the political center of gravity way to the right, such that even after Democrats made their demands heard, important bills would ultimately pass both chambers with the support of a majority of Republicans. If Democrats wanted to avoid a government shutdown, they had to be willing to accept legislation that was Hastert Rule compliant. That was pretty remarkable, considering the Republicans only controlled the House. But the right-hard right alliance started showing signs of instability almost immediately.