Is Intra-Caucus Competition Driving GOP Strategy?


Suzy Khimm points out that Paul Ryan’s budget is basically a gift to Democrats in case of a budget shutdown, allowing them to fudge the difference between the fairly obscure issues at stake in the FY 2011 appropriation disagreement and the not-at-all-subtle void between the parties on the FY 2012 budget. Indeed, some members of the Republican caucus don’t seem to understand why Ryan would drop his budget right in the week of the appropriations showdown.

My pet theory is that we’re seeing a massive coordination failure inside the Republican caucus, as everyone is basically positioning himself as the true-blue conservative. John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, and Paul Ryan are in an iterated game to get to the right of each other and it’s a game that will only intensify as the GOP presidential campaign heats up. Consequently, I think we can expect congressional politics to feature endless bouts of brinksmanship and gridlock.