In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The epic GOP meltdown of 2015 should not come as a surprise.

The modern Republican Party had been careening toward this kind of wheels-off-the-track moment for a long time. Its knee-jerk rejectionism, high-stakes brinksmanship, strict demands for ideological purity, and willingness to take hostages had been on display in one form or another in a series of political clashes since the 1990s.

But you knew that already if you read the 2012 book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism." While not predicting the current GOP leadership crisis, it sounded the alarm that the party was on a dangerous course and taking the country with it. The book argued that responsible governance had been severely crippled by the Republican Party's push to the right and its adoption of take-no-prisoners politicking.

TPM asked one of the co-authors if he was feeling any vindication.

“Damn straight I do,” Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview with TPM late last week. “But I would have rather been proven wrong -- honest to God -- because we're talking about the fucking country that is at stake here.”

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Since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dropped from the speaker race, Republicans have coalesced around the idea of Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan as their knight in shining armor, even as Ryan himself has expressed reluctance to enter the race.

However, while some of the hardliners who pushed back at McCarthy have expressed their support of Ryan, other conservatives are already begin to raise their concerns about Ryan's record. The question is not just whether Ryan would have the votes necessary to win the speakership on the House floor, but also his ability if elected to bring the hardliners in line and avoid shutdowns, debt defaults, and the array of looming government crises.

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The revolt by conservatives to push out House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have the opposite effect, some Republicans are suggesting. With House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) shocking decision to drop out of the speaker's race -- due to resistance from the same group of conservative hardliners -- many are suggesting that Boehner will have no choice but to stick out the rest of the term, despite his desire to step down by Oct. 30.

"John Boehner has served the state of Ohio and the American people for a very long time, and I think he deserves the right to go out on his own terms, and so I don't know what that will mean," Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) said on Fox News. "But I do know John's heart and I'm confident he will do whatever is best for the American people and the institution until we do find a Speaker."

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When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his resignation earlier this month, the likelihood that his successor would be able to navigate a series of high stakes deadlines looked uncertain at best. Since then, the leadership succession has erupted into full-out chaos.

What was supposed to be a relatively smooth ascension for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been rocked by his own gaffes, outsider challengers, and the threat of an unprecedented floor fight that could undermine efforts to avoid a government shutdown and a historic default on the national debt before the year's end.

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The Obama administration is moving forward with a plan that could bring a sea change to how retirement advisors must treat their clients, while financial industry-allies in Congress engage in another round of push back.

The new rules for retirement advisors that the President and consumer advocates are pushing address a conflict of interest the White House estimates costs retirement savers $17 billion annually. The problem? Contrary to what many investors believe, the advisors who direct them to retirement funds are not always required to act in their clients' best interests.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have sacrificed his speaker's gavel to keep the government open through the week. But the path that lies ahead for his successor is much trickier. Even if lawmakers, as expected, pass a short-term spending bill this week, they face a series of other deadlines before the end of the year that could converge into one giant showdown fueled by freshly emboldened hardliners who see compromise as defeat.

“It is setting up a very major set of hurdles for the next majority leader come the middle of December,” Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center who worked for the U.S. Senate for 25 years, told TPM. “How they make this silk purse out of a sow’s ear is going to be very, very difficult.”

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By falling on his gavel, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) cleared a path for Congress to pass a short-term spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.

The Senate will begin considering Monday evening a bill to fund the government through Dec. 11, the controversial Planned Parenthood funding included. With a final vote expected Tuesday, the House will have about a day to pass the legislation and keep the government open in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) explained his surprise decision to step down as a move to stabilize a congressional GOP rocked by revolts over his leadership. However, already, Republican lawmakers have expressed skepticism that his resignation will really cure what ails the House Republicans.

“To be perfectly honest with you, the results we get are probably going to be the same thing, it’s just going to be a different face,” Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) told reporters. “The natives are restless, and they want to see something change. So how much change somebody can bring about, we’ll see.”

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