Yesterday, I wrote about two instances in which Republican opposition to John Boehner’s debt ceiling bill had perhaps taken things a step too far and ended up strengthening Boehner’s hand in the process.
Unfortunately, tempers got so high they have yet to come back to earth, and some of the pro-Boehner Republicans who were targeted by the Republican Study Committee are talking retribution. To recap, staffers with the RSC were caught targeting members of the House GOP for their support of Boehner’s plan, and when this came to light, RSC chairman Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and his staff were treated to a hostile dressing down at a caucus meeting.
Now the Columbus Dispatch reports House Republicans may make Jordan disappear–in congressional terms, that is:
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s open defiance of Speaker John Boehner’s efforts to solve the debt-ceiling crisis could cost the Urbana Republican his safe seat in next year’s election.
Two Republican sources deeply involved in configuring new Ohio congressional districts confirmed to The Dispatch today that Jordan’s disloyalty to Boehner has put him in jeopardy of being zeroed out of a district.
“Jim Jordan’s boneheadedness has kind of informed everybody’s thinking,” said one of the sources, both of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity. “The easiest option for everybody has presented itself.”
Jordan’s rural 11-county district, which has a 60 percent Republican voter index, “is easy to cannibalize because it stretches so far,” said the other source.
There are legitimate reasons why they would do this. The state must eliminate two seats from its congressional delegation, and this would solve an actual problem for Buckeye State Republicans. The idea is to redraw the map so Jordan is put in a “competitive district” that would give the GOP even odds of winning. Jordan’s current district is a safe district, and the pro-Boehner officials are chuckling about that fact having encouraged the hubris in Jordan that may be his undoing. “The downside of being in an uber-safe district is you often don’t develop the strategic skills you need to survive in the arena, and in this case that is going to be painfully evident to Jim Jordan,” one source told the Dispatch.
So this is, perhaps, an idea whose time has come. But talking about it–especially in this gleeful manner (you can almost hear the mwah-ha-ha playing on a loop in this guy’s head)–is the wrong approach. Boehner hasn’t won yet. His bill may pass the House, but it will likely be voted down in the Senate, leading to the need for another compromise. Will the GOP have his back next time? Maybe sending this message will encourage them to get in line. But maybe it will only pour fuel on the fire of resentment the conservative caucus feels toward their compromising leadership.
Boehner, for his part, is doing his best to put a stop to the discussion (though it remains to be seen whether that means he is also not considering the option): “Jim Jordan and I may not always agree on strategy, but we are friends and allies, and the word retribution is not in my vocabulary. I look forward to continuing to serve with him in the U.S. House after the redistricting process in Ohio is complete, and for many years to come.”