GOP Leadership Rivals Throw Mike Pence Under the Bus


I’ve seen a lot of people link to this Glenn Thrush Politico item, but I have a slightly different take on it:


House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) raised objections to an abbreviated alternative budget “blueprint” released today — but were told by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) they needed to back the plan, according to several Republican sources. […] “In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan,” said a GOP aide heavily involved in budget strategy. […] “It’s categorically untrue,” said Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd. “Cantor as well as Ryan and the rest of the leadership have been part of this process for weeks. They not only signed off on it, but their staffs helped edit it.”

To me the salient point here is that Pence’s spokesman is almost certainly telling the truth here, and the Cantor and Ryan staffers saying otherwise are almost certainly lying. As a simple matter of logic, Thrush’s item doesn’t really make sense. Look at the problems the majority party has keeping its caucus on message and united on matters of tactics and substance. There’s no way John Boehner could possibly force Reps Ryan and Cantor to endorse his joke of a budget if they didn’t want to.

Rather, Reps Ryan and Cantor saw that the press was reacting poorly to the Boehner/Pence flim-flam “budget” and decided to throw their colleagues under the bus. And, frankly, I’m not surprised that Ryan and Cantor were surprised. I was surprised, too. I’ve never really seen political reporters get outraged before about the fact that a policy document makes no sense in the past. It was a curious outbreak of substance among the press corps that I don’t think was particularly foreseeable.