Are you tired of partisan bickering? We are, too. Let's talk about intra-party bickering. After losing the presidential election and several very winnable Senate races, the Republicans enter the 113th Congress with several power struggles. And, really, they have to do more with less power. Let's review some of the more interesting fights with the GOP, and what they say about the new path of conservatism.
Fight: Paul Ryan vs. Marco Rubio. Ryan is the House Budget Committee chair and former vice-presidential candidate; Rubio is a Florida senator and former vice-presidential contender.
How they're fighting: These guys won't be trading insults. Instead, as National Journal's Beth Reinhard explains today, they're taking diverging paths for building the party — and their own careers. Ryan, who voted for the fiscal cliff compromise this week, "is betting that the path to power runs through compromise and governing," Reinhard writes. Rubio, who voted against the fiscal cliff measure, "is largely playing the outside game" and playing to the conservative base.
What they're really fighting about: Both are presumed to be running for president in 2016.
Fight: Chris Christie vs. John Boehner. Christie is the governor if New Jersey; Boehner is speaker of the House.
How they're fighting: Boehner reportedly decided not to hold a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill — and it didn't look very good to have Republicans vote for spending increases... right after voting for tax increases. But Republican Rep. Peter King called on his fellow New Yorkers to stop giving money to congressional Republicans, and then Christie held a spectacular press conference, declaring the failure to vote on the Sandy bill is "why the American people hate Congress. Unlike the people in Congress, we have actual responsibilities." And, "Last night, the House majority failed most basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state... It was disappointing and disgusting to watch." Oh, and especially: "There's only one group to blame ... the House majority, and their Speaker, John Boehner."
Preliminary fight result: The House will vote on $9 billion for flood insurance on Friday; a vote on $51 billion in relief spending will happen January 15, Boehner said. Point: Christie.
What they're really fighting about: Christie is running for reelection as governor this year, and is also probably running for president in 2016. This fight, too, is in a way about the future of the GOP. Will that future follow the House GOP style of focusing mostly on cutting spending? Or will it follow the style of Christie, who specializes in pragmatic compromise made to look more aggressive and manly with no-holds-barred press conferences in which he yells at politicians or teachers.
Fight: Boehner vs. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader.
How they're fighting: Cantor wanted the vote on the Sandy bill Wednesday, but Boehner spiked it. Boehner's office told Roll Call that Cantor was in charge of the vote, but Cantor's aide anonymously said it had been Boehner's decision.
What they're really fighting about: Cantor gets a lot of campaign donations from New Yorkers. But since 2011, there have been rumors that Cantor wants Boehner's job.
Fight: Boehner vs. Jeff Landry. Landry is an outgoing congressman from Louisiana.
How they're fighting: Landry has been leading the push to oust Boehner as speaker, National Review's Robert Costa says. Landry told Breitbart News that House conservatives have between 17 and 20 GOP lawmakers who'd vote against Boehner.
Preliminary fight result: Boehner is expected to be re-elected Thursday in a landslide. Point: Boehner.
What they're really fighting about: Republicans don't like being in charge of just one half of one branch of government. Boehner will probably keep his job as speaker because nobody else wants it, Roll Call's Daniel Newhauser reports. There is no "viable replacement."
Bonus intra-Democratic Party fight!
Fight: Harry Reid vs. Joe Biden. Reid is the Senate Majority Leader and was negotiating a fiscal cliff deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, until he wasn't; Biden is the vice president who started the conversation with McConncell.
How they're fighting: When the White House sent Reid a list of concessions he could make to McConnell Saturday evening, Reid read the paper, balled it up, and threw it in the fire in his office fireplace. (The Huffington Post reports Reid likes to keep a fire going for this very purpose.) Reid told McConnell he wouldn't make any more concessions, and McConnell complained on the Senate floor, "I need a dance partner." Biden was sent in. "We know that when McConnell has hit a wall with Reid, he calls Joe Biden to get some more candy," an anonymous Senate aide told National Journal. "We thought it was unnecessary… We had a lot of leverage."
What they're really fighting about: This seems to mirror the complaints many liberal pundits voiced over President Obama's handling of the fiscal deal. Some liberals think the GOP is crazy, but not so crazy it wouldn't vote for middle class tax cuts if we went over the fiscal cliff; the White House reportedly thinks the GOP is crazier and might have held the economy hostage into February.
(Photos via Associated Press.)