Harvey Dent aka fictional villain Two Face in the DC Comics Batman franchise, came into the graphic novel world late in 1942.
Congressman Charlie Dent, Republican from Pennsylvania, was born in 1960 and entered the sometimes freakish world of the House in 2005. He might be both freakish hero, and villain to some, in Congress.
What they have in common is uniting and combining two disparate and opposite sides, or in the case of Rep.Dent, attempting to do so. Charlie Dent wants to elect the next speaker of the House as a bi-partisan effort, with the other moderate (presumably more establishment members of the GOP) members on the right. This would effectively cut out the crazies and the tea partiers and the other extremists from power. The radical right does not have the votes necessary to elect the speaker to replace Boehner, but neither does the more mainstream right. Looking at the news feed over the past few hours, the prospect is upsetting the radical right extremist media. That alone is more entertaining than any comic book.
But the less radical right could do so, overwhelmingly, IF THEY FORMED AN ALLIANCE with the Democrats. Since that would mean the Dems in the alliance would likely outnumber the Republicans by a significant margin, it is distinctly possible that would return Pelosi to the speaker’s chair, and 2nd in line behind the Vice President should the president die or become incapacitated.
Among other things it would do is to effectively END the highly obstructionist Hastert rule. And THAT would open up, potentially, a backlog of legislation that would be brought forward for a vote, including most likely effective and comprehensive immigration reform and universal background check gun control legislation. It would effectively end the witch-hunting committees like the Benghazi committee, and it would likely mean the end of attempts to repeal Obamacare. The debt ceiling would be raised, and government shut downs would recede into memory.
And THAT in turn would turn the 2016 election cycle inside out and upside down, especially with those candidates for president who want to be the right wing nominee in 2016. They have been falling over each other to go further right. Off the top of my head I cannot begin to imagine what effect this could have on the Senate, but Mitch McConnell is no fan of the radicals, and would be badly hamstrung as majority leader of the Senate without the partnership of Boehner. Turtle-man could still obstruct, but not nearly as effectively, and possibly not past the next year. At the very least I would expect McConnell to work with such an alliance at least part of the time, while happily giving the bad finger to the extremists like Ted Cruz or even Rand Paul.
This may very well be just a pipe dream and wishful thinking on the part of Rep. Dent. It may be too good to ever happen, and would certainly require the approval of the behind the scenes big money that controls the moderate puppets, those sometimes referred to as being in the pockets of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But with the dances going on among those seeking Boehner’s job……………it is a long shot, but not impossible. It all hinges on the capacity for one of the two GOP factions to capitulate, compromise and cooperate. They have shown a decreasing inclination to do that.
THIS may very well be why Boehner was laughing as he contemplated his exit at the end of this month on Halloween. Who knows? Truth and reality may turn out to be, if not stranger than all fiction, as strange as comic book fiction. We can hope, for real governance for a change.
Comments below fold.
From Mac Hall: Before there was Charlie Dent, there was his aunt — Mary Dent Crisp, who was driven from the leadership of the Republican Party in 1980 after publicly assailing its opposition to abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment. Saint Ronnie chastised the party’s highest-ranking woman on national television, saying that she “should look to herself and see how loyal she’s been to the Republican Party.”
Let’s think for a second … how did Charlie Dent vote on defunding Planned Parenthood (oh he was one of the three to vote against the party along with Robert Dold IL-10 and Richard Hanna NY-22) and what’s his position on same-sex marriage (he has come out in support) … okay, so he may get some Republican votes but will he get Collin Peterson’s support to make it a bipartisan Speaker ?
From Dog Gone: I don’t know about ol’ Colin, who is pretty much of a dino (possibly of necessity). But if such an agreement were to come to pass, I think he might go along with it. Nancy Pelosi managed as speaker to pull together votes much better than Boehner ever has, and she has a much more rational caucus to work with also. I did not know about Mary Dent Crisp, but then I so often learn new and interesting things from you Mac.
The greater question here is perhaps HOW MANY votes would it take from across the aisle to elect a bi-partisan speaker? I don’t know but I suspect not that many, and that if committee chair positions were proffered, quite a few would jump to it. It may take a few more right wing paroxysms of dysfunction, before that split of theirs goes to this tipping point. They may elect another conservative in the interim; John Kline’s name is being bandied about. Kline has been an ally of Boehner’s, so it is likely he would face the same opposition that Boehner did, particularly since he has been bad mouthing the more extreme right in Congress when Boehner quit. I’m sure he would like to go out of Congress with that little trophy; but not sure he can get it, or that he would find the hassle worth the kick.