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The Devil Made Me Do It

I think this might be a symptom of the underlying unpopularity of the GOP's policies, that even advocates for their position can't positively claim the position for themselves, but are reduced to passively noting their own position as if it were an unpleasant reality even to them.

Boehner's become a master of this. "Obama needs to propose something that can pass the House"-type language. I suppose that something more active, e.g., "I won't vote for this and neither will my caucus" immediately invites questions about what you will vote for - questions that have become toxic to the GOP since their base positions and the positions of the mainstream diverge on so many issues. Or perhaps in some cases it reflects an actual internal division - a middle-of-the-pack GOP congressperson who doesn't enjoy kowtowing to the loony right, but knows that the only danger to their seat is a Tea Party primary opponent - so she'll vote the crazy, but isn't going to claim the crazy for her own. "I just cant vote for that."

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.